Cox, Alexandra

University of Essex
01 Feb 2020 to 14 Feb 2020

Alexandra Cox is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at theUniversity of Essex.  She received her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in 2012, and her BA from Yale University in 2001.

Prior to teaching at the University of Essex, she was Assistant Professor of Sociology at SUNY New Paltz, and a Visiting Fellow at Yale University Law School.  She has worked as a sentencing mitigation specialist at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (USA) and runs a death penalty sentencing mitigation clinic at the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex.

She has also worked in the areas of drug policy and criminal justice reform, and received a Soros Justice Advocacy fellowship for her work in juvenile prisons.  She is the author of 'Trapped in a Vice: The Consequences of Confinement for Young People' (Rutgers University Press, 2018).

Academic title/s: Senior Lecturer

Area(s) of expertise: juvenile justice, criminal defense, sentencing, race and racism, procedural justice, legtimacy.

Experience in Oñati: 

I spent two weeks at the IISL.  The weeks were incredibly productive and focused.  I spent my time preparing an article on the legitimation practices of frontline prosecutors working in a Northeastern American state.  These data were collected as part of a study that I was part of that was run by the Yale University Law School’s Justice Collaboratory.  I am collaborating on the article about the prosecutors with my colleague Dr. Camila Gripp.

            I spent the first week of my time analyzing the data that we have from the prosecutors.  These include interviews about the self-legitimacy strategies and practices of prosecutors, as well as the emotional labour they engage in.  I also spent time finishing a literature review about self-legitimacy, drawing from the books in the IISL library. 

            I spent the second week of my time at the IISL drafting the article on prosecutors.  The article argues that the self-legitimation strategies of prosecutors involve their efforts at differentiation from other criminal justice workers as well as their displacement of responsibility for systemic harms. 

            My co-author for the article, Dr. Camila Gripp, and I then spent several weeks working through various drafts of the article, and it is now under review with our colleagues Professor Tom Tyler and Dr. Justice Tankebe, two leading researchers in the field of legitimacy and procedural justice.

            My time at the Institute was extremely productive.  I felt very focused and appreciated the quiet of the library as a space to work, as well as the intellectual community of the IISL.  I feel very proud of the article that I have prepared and am excited to send it off for peer review.

I had a wonderfully productive time at the Institute.  The staff were incredibly welcoming and supportive, and the atmosphere was wonderful.  I loved working the library every day, as it was wonderfully resourced and peaceful.  I loved the town of Onati, and got to explore its various bars and restaurants, as well as the beautiful countryside surrounding it.  The accommodation was lovely and peaceful, and it was so nice to get to know the other visiting fellows and students.  Overall, it was an extremely focused and productive visit for me, with some wonderful wine and food to nourish me while I worked.