Loyola Law School Associate Professor, appointed by the Board of Supervisors
Priscilla Ocen elected as vice chair. She was appointed to the Commission in December 2016 and has served on Ad Hoc Committees for Bail Reform, Cannabis and the Unmanned Aircraft System Program. She 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 examines the relationship between race, gender and systems of punishment. Her work also explores the ways in which race, gender and class interact to render women of color vulnerable to various forms of violence and criminalization. In particular, Ocen’s work draws attention to the ways in which criminalization and incarceration are used to police the reproductive choices of poor women of color. Her work 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 Los Angeles Daily Journal, Ebony and Al Jazeera.
Ocen is the co-author 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. Most recently, Ocen was appointed to serve as a member of the newly established Los Angeles Sheriff’s Oversight Commission.
Prior to joining the faculty at Loyola Law School, Ocen was a Critical Race Studies fellow at UCLA School of Law, where she taught a course on Critical Race Theory and a seminar on Race, Gender and Incarceration. Additionally, Ocen served as a law clerk to the Honorable Eric L. Clay of the U.S Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Following her clerkship, she was the Thurgood Marshall Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she worked on various racial justice issues including voting rights, police misconduct, and conditions of confinement in women’s prisons. Additionally, Ocen spearheaded the creation of a Black Women’s Reentry Project.
Ocen is also active in the community as she serves as a member of the board of directors for the Equal Justice Society, an organization dedicated to transforming the nation’s consciousness on race through law, social science and the arts.