Jalila Jefferson-Bullock

Jalila Jefferson-Bullock

Associate Professor


Room 3259 

Jalila Jefferson-Bullock

  • Biography

    Jalila Jefferson-Bullock, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, is an Associate Professor at Wayne State University Law School, where she teaches Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, and Race & American Law.

    Professor Jefferson-Bullock received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard College, her Master of Arts in the Humanities from the University of Chicago, and her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Theological Studies at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Prior to this appointment, Professor Jefferson-Bullock taught Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Race & American Law in Pittsburgh, PA and Phoenix, AZ, where she was an active member of the law school community.

    Professor Jefferson-Bullock is a prison abolitionist. Her most current work refocuses the discussion of various aspects of sentencing law and policy reform on the need to de-emphasize traditional incarceration as standard punishment, while exploring, establishing, and maintaining meaningful, guiding purposes in federal sentencing. She has presented scholarly research at several conferences, served on numerous research panels, and consistently publishes her works in top-rated journals.

    Before embarking on her career in academia, Professor Jefferson-Bullock enjoyed a robust career in law practice and public service. She was elected to the Louisiana State House of Representatives in 2003, where she represented a district in her home city of New Orleans. Post-Katrina, she was an outspoken champion for the rights of the displaced, most notably, their right to vote. Throughout her career, she has been appointed to numerous community boards and commissions and has received several awards and recognitions for community service.

  • Degrees and Certifications

    B.A., Harvard College
    MA, University of Chicago
    J.D., Harvard Law School

  • Courses Taught

    Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, and Race & American Law.

  • Position Title

    Associate Director of Civil Rights and Social Justice, Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights

  • Selected publications

    A More Dignified Approach, __ Nw. U. L. Rev. Online __ (2021) (forthcoming).

    Returning to Retribution: A More Dignified Approach to Drug Sentencing, __ Ohio St. J. Crim. L. __ (2021) (forthcoming).

    That’s Enough Punishment: Abolishing and Defunding the Police and the Carceral State, 48 Urb. L.J. 625 (2021) (with Jelani Jefferson Exum) (invited).

    A Little Child Shall Lead Them: Juvenile Justice, Aging Out, and the FIRST Step Act, 87 Tenn. L. Rev. 569 (2020).

    Restoring Dignity in Criminal Punishment, 54 New Eng. L. Rev. 199 (2020) (invited symposium) (forthcoming).

    Let My People Go: A Call for the Swift Release of Elderly Prisoners in the Wake of COVID-19, 32 Federal Sentencing Reporter 286 (June 2020) (guest editor).

    Consensus, Compassion, and Compromise?: The FIRST Step Act and Aging Out of Crime, 32 Federal Sentencing Reporter 70 (December 2019).

    I, Too, Sing America: Presidential Pardon Power and the Perception of Good Character, 57 DUQ. L. Rev. 309 (2019) (invited symposium).

    Quelling the Silver Tsunami: Compassionate Release of Elderly Offenders, 79 Ohio St. L. J. 937 (2018).

    How Much Punishment is Enough?: Embracing Uncertainty in Modern Sentencing Reform, 24 J.L. & Pol’y 345 [Brooklyn Law School] (2016).

    Taking a Closer Look: A Case for Sentencing Reform, 28 Federal Sentencing Reporter 221 (February 2016).

    Are You (Still) My Great and Worthy Opponent?: Compassionate Release of Terminally Ill Offenders, 83 UMKC L. Rev. 521 (2015) (lead article).

    The Time is Ripe to Include Considerations of the Effects on Families and Communities of Excessively Long Sentences, 83 UMKC L. Rev. 73 (2014).

    The Flexibility of Section 5 and the Politics of Disaster in Post-Katrina New Orleans, 16 J. Of Gender, Race & Just 825 (2013).

    Book Chapter

    That’s Enough Punishment, in The Darkside of Reform: Exploring the Promises and Pitfalls of Contemporary Public Policy for Racial Equity (2021) (Tyrell Connor and Daphne Penn eds.) (forthcoming).

    Works in Progress

    The Myth of Good Character (argues for a more limiting view of executive power aligned with retributive goals and principles).

    The Power of Movement: The Constitution’s Failure to Protect the Poor (argues that the Constitution does not adequately protect the rights of the poor; focuses on hurricane preparedness, recovery, and the right to travel as specific examples).

  • Courses taught by Jalila Jefferson-Bullock