Priscilla Ocen is a Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, where she teaches criminal procedure, reproductive justice, and a seminar on race, gender and the law. Her work explores the ways in which the intersection of race, gender and class make 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 Journal, Ebony, and Al Jazeera. Professor 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.
Most recently, Professor Ocen served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the California Department of Justice. In that capacity, Professor Ocen advised Attorney General Rob Bonta on issues related to criminal justice reform.
Professor 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 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 was also a member and former Chair of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Oversight Commission. In 2021, Ocen was appointed to the California Penal Code Revision Committee by Governor Gavin Newsome.
Prior to her appointment at Loyola, Ocen was a Critical Race Studies Fellow at UCLA School of Law, where she designed and taught a seminar on mass incarceration and gender.
Before joining the academy, Ocen clerked for the Honorable Eric L. Clay of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and served as the Thurgood Marshall Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she litigated police misconduct and voting rights claims and spearheaded the creation of a reentry project designed to meet the unique needs of formerly incarcerated women.