Priscilla Ocen

Priscilla Ocen, Professor of Law

Professor of Law

Courses Taught

  • Criminal Law
  • Critical Race Theory



  • BA, San Diego State University
  • JD, University of California Los Angeles, School of Law


Priscilla Ocen is a Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, where she teaches criminal law, family law and a seminar on race, gender and the law.  Her work explores the ways in which race, gender and class interact to render women of color vulnerable to various forms of violence and criminalization. Her writing has appeared in academic journals such as the California Law Review, the UCLA Law Review, the George Washington Law Review, the UC Davis Law Review and the Du Bois Review as well as popular media outlets such as the Atlantic Magazine, Los Angeles Daily JournalEbony and Al Jazeera

Ocen received the inaugural PEN America Writing for Justice Literary Fellowship and served as a 2019-2020 Fulbright Fellow, based out of Makerere University School of Law in Kampala, Uganda, where she studied the relationship between gender-based violence and women’s incarceration.

Ocen is the co-author (along with Kimberle Crenshaw and Jyoti Nanda) of the influential policy report, Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected.  The report was part a larger effort co-organized by Ocen and others to highlight the various forms of discipline and punishment experienced by Black girls, which are often overlooked in mainstream advocacy efforts and policy initiatives. As part of this effort, Ocen co-hosted a community hearing on the status of Black women and girls in Los Angeles. 

Ocen has applied her work to broader advocacy efforts, as she has served as a trainer for federal public defenders, assisted with the development of new programs in domestic violence centers in South Los Angeles, and strategized with community groups regarding efforts to monitor conditions of confinement in the Los Angeles County women’s jail. Ocen is also a member of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Oversight Commission. 


  • The Story of Ferguson v. City of Charleston in REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS AND JUSTICE STORIES (Melissa Murray, Reva Siegel and Kate Shaw eds. forthcoming 2018)
  • Incapacitating Motherhood, ___ U.C. Davis Law Review ___ (forthcoming 2018)
  • Birthing Injustice: Pregnancy as a Status Offense, 85 GEO. WASH. L. REV. (July 2017)
  • Beyond Ferguson: Integrating the Social Psychology of Criminal Procedure and Critical Race Theory to Understand the Persistence of Police Violence, in A THEORY OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: LAW AND SOCIOLOGY IN CONVERSATION (Sharon Dolovich and Alexandra Natapoff eds. forthcoming 2017)
  • (E)racing Childhood: Examining the Racialized Construction of "Childhood" and "Innocence" in the Treatment of Sexually Exploited Minors, 62 UCLA L. REV. 1586 (2015) 
  • Beyond Shackling: Prisons, Pregnancy and the Struggle for Birth Justice (co-authored with J. Chinyere Oparah), forthcoming in BIRTHING JUSTICE: BLACK WOMEN, PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH (J. Chinyere Oparah, Alicia Bonaparte and Shanelle Matthews eds. 2015)
  • Black Girls Matter: Overpoliced and Underprotected (co-written with Kimberlé Crenshaw Jyoti Nanda 2015)
  • Unshackling Intersectionality, 10 DU BOIS REVIEW 471 (2013)
  • The New Racially Restrictive Covenant: Race, Welfare and the Policing of Black Women in Public Housing, 59 UCLA L. REV. 1540 (2012)
  • Punishing Pregnancy: Race, Incarceration and the Shackling of Pregnant Prisoners, 100 CAL. L. REV. 1239 (2012)

Works in Progress

  • At Home and Under Siege: Black Women, the Home and the Criminal Law (co-authored with Devon Carbado)