Priscilla Ocen

Priscilla Ocen Focuses on Underrepresented Groups

Associate Professor Priscilla Ocen joined the Loyola faculty in fall 2012, bringing a critical perspective on the plight of minority groups in the criminal justice system. Ocen teaches Criminal Law and, in the spring 2012 semester, debuted the class Critical Race Theory.

Ocen penned two scholarly articles in 2012, including “Punishing Pregnancy: Race, Incarceration, and the Shackling of Pregnant Prisoners,” for the California Law Review and “The New Racially Restrictive Covenant: Race, Welfare and the Policing of Black Women in Public Housing,” for the UCLA Law Review. Previously, Ocen spearheaded the development of a re-entry project designed to meet the needs of formerly incarcerated black women as a Thurgood Marshall Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco.

Ocen honed her skills at the UCLA School of Law, where she earned her JD and served as a Critical Race Studies Teaching Fellow. Ocen said she was attracted to Loyola because the school’s commitment to positive social change matched her own.“I appreciated the ways in which Loyola’s faculty leverages its expertise, not only within the legal academy but also in the public policy and social justice arenas, to influence social change,” Ocen said.

In addition to her teaching and scholarship, Ocen has provided commentary on criminal- and social-justice issues. Recently, she published the op-ed, "Paula Deen and the U.S.'s 'subservience fantasy,'" on Al Jazeera's website. In the op-ed, she wrote:

Deen's comments are problematic for a number of reasons. But it would be a mistake to characterise her remarks as a single instance of racism by a misguided or misinformed individual. Rather, Deen's remarks are representative of a growing kind of  "subservience fantasy" of whites who are witnessing significant changes in the demographic and political landscape in the United States.