Kelly Hannah-Moffat

Professor; Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity and Culture, University of Toronto


Department of Sociology

Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Deviance and Social Control
  • Punishment
  • Risk
  • Actuarial governance
  • Prisons
  • Gender and punishment


Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat is a full Professor in Criminology and Sociolegal Studies and Sociology, former director of the Centre of Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, and a Vice President at the University of Toronto. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on human rights, criminal records disclosures, big data, AI and risk algorithms, punishment and diverse populations, solitary confinement and institutional risk management practices. She has published numerous books and articles and conducted an extensive amount of independently-funded research on various aspects of Canadian and international penal policy. She has served as a policy consultant and expert witness on several legal cases involving risk assessment, segregation and gender based penal reform. She was a policy advisor for Madame Justice Arbour on the Commission of Inquiry into Certain Events at the Prison for Women in Kingston (the “Arbour Commission”), and was an expert witness for the Office of the Ontario Coroner in the Ashley Smith Inquest, as well as other several recent cases related to the use of segregation and conditions of confinement. She works with several government and non-profit organizations and on issues related to criminal justice reform. She is also the co-Editor in Chief for Punishment and Society, as well as a member of several international Editorial Advisory Boards.

She was appointed as Vice-President effective October 1, 2016. She is responsible for employment and labour relations with 28 employee groups, including 23 unions, four non-unionized groups, and the Faculty Association. Her portfolio also oversees recruitment, organizational and staff leadership and development, compensation, benefits, pension, HR technology and innovation and equity. She participates in the creation and implementation of policies that reflect the University’s commitment to anti-discrimination, equity, diversity and inclusion for all faculty, staff, and students. Professor Hannah-Moffat also has shared responsibility for the Personal Safety, High Risk, Sexual Violence Prevention and Support team, as well as for Campus Police and Crisis Management.

Ongoing & Future Research
Institutional Risk Practices and Diversions

This new project examines specialized courts (domestic violence, Aboriginal, youth and drug courts). It will examines how legal practices such as bail, sentencing, and case processing have collectively changed as a consequence of the hybrid approaches used in various specialized courts. It will clarify how issues of procedural fairness are managed in court settings where conventional legal and therapeutic roles have been altered. This research will move beyond a specific analysis of therapeutic jurisprudence to study the range of perspectives informing the development and operation of specialized courts. The research will also focus on how risk is differently interpreted and managed in these courts to understand the range as well as gendered and racialized aspects of legal knowledges.


This study examines conditional release decision-making as it relates to the determination of risk and the manageability of that risk in the community upon reintegration. Of particular interest are the relationships between gender, diversity, social disadvantage, mental health and parole decisions. This project also traces the history of conditional release in Canada and internationally.

Risk Practices and Actuarial Governance

Tied to my work on gender and punishment is my research examining how theoretical insights on actuarial governance operate in applied penal settings, how risk is gendered, and how the application of risk has differential effects on various penal populations. This conceptual project is concerned with how penal governance has changed in particular with the increased use of risk-based technologies of governing, and of self-governing technologies such empowerment that seeks to govern-at-a-distance. Of interest are how particular transformations in risk-based government combine with other established and emergent penal strategies (i.e. punitive incapacitative, rehabilitation and restorative justice) and how these new technologies impact social policy and create new patterns of penal governance. Particular attention is given to the inequalities that are obscured and perpetuated by these statistical practices, the limits of using or adopting gender neutral actuarial risk assessment tools for use with women and ethno-culturally diverse populations, and the gaps between correctional research initiatives, policy and institutional practices.

Gender and Punishment

This research has traced the historical antecedents of the current women-centred model of penal governance employed in Canadian federal women’s prisons. Theoretically, it shows how various forms of power (pastoral, disciplinary, sovereign, actuarial, and neo-liberal) operate together at various historical moments.


Hannah-Moffat, K and K. Struthers Montford (2019) ‘Unpacking Sentencing Algorithms Risk, Racial Accountability and Data Harms”  in Predictive Sentencing Normative and Empirical Perspectives Edited by Jan W de Keijser, Julian V Roberts & Jesper Ryberg. London: Hart Publishing.

Balfour, G., K. Hannah-Moffat and S. Turnbull (2018) Planning for precarity?    Experiencing the carceral continuum of imprisonment and re-entry. Studies in law, Politics, and Society, a special issue – After Imprisonment volume 77.

Struthers- Montford, K., K. Hannah-Moffat, and A. Hunter (2018) ‘“Too wicked to die”: the enduring legacy of humane reforms to solitary confinement’. in J. Nichols and A. Swiffen (eds) Legal Violence and the Limits of the Law. London: Routledge.

Hannah-Moffat, K (2016). Purpose and Context Matters: Creating a space for meaningful  dialogues about risk and need. In Risk and Need Assessment: Theory and Practice. John Hepburn & Pamela K. Lattimore (volume series editors), Faye Taxman (volume editor); Division of Corrections and Sentencing of American Society of Criminology, Handbook on Corrections & Sentencing (Routledge, Taylor & Francis) Hannah-Moffat, K. (2016). Risk, crime and law. In J. Oliver (Ed.), Handbook in risk studies. London, UK: Routledge.

Hannah-Moffat, K. (2018 -) ‘Algorithmic risk governance: Big data analytics, race and information activism in criminal justice debates’Theoretical Criminology.

Maurutto, P. and K. Hannah-Moffat.  (2017). Situated racial knowledge and the framing of legal subjects. Canadian Journal of Law and Society. Canadian Journal of Law and Society/ La Revue Canadienne Droit et Société (RCDS) Volume 31, Issue 3 December 2016, pp. 451-471.

Hannah-Moffat, K.  (2016). Conceptual Kalidescope: Dynamic risk, social conditions, and responsibilization of individual agency. Psychology, Crime and Law. 2:1-2, 33-46.

Deshman, A. and K. Hannah-Moffat. (2015). Advocacy and Academia: Considering strategies of cooperative engagement.  Social Justice.  42 (2): 91-113.

Hannah-Moffat (2012) “Actuarial Sentencing: An Unsettled proposition” -Justice Quarterly  Access on line.

Hannah-Moffat, K. and Carolyn Yule (2011) “Gaining Insight, Changing Attitudes and Managing ‘Risk’: Parole Release Decisions for Women Convicted of Violent Crimes. Punishment and Society. 13(2): 149-175.

Hannah-Moffat, K (2011) ‘Women in Prison: Who and Why?’ in M. Hird and G. Pavlich (eds) Questioning Sociology: Canadian Perspectives. Oxford University Press. (Chapter)

Hannah-Moffat, K. (2010) “Sacrosanct or flawed: Risk, Accountability and Gender-responsive Penal Politics” Current Issues in Criminal Justice. 22 (2): 193-216.

Hannah-Moffat, K. and P. Marutto (2010). “Restructuring Pre-Sentence Reports: Race, Risk, and the PSR.” Punishment and Society. 12(2).

Hannah-Moffat, K., P. Maurutto and S. Turnbull(2010). “Negotiated Risk: Actuarial Assessment and Discretion in Probation.” Canadian Journal of Law and Society. 24(3).

Hannah-Moffat, K. (2010) ‘Criminological Cliques: Narrowing Dialogues, Institutional Protectionism and the Next Generation’ in M. Bosworth and C. Hoyle (ed.) What is Criminology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Chapter)

Turnbull, S. and K. Hannah-Moffat (2009). “Under These Conditions: Gender, Parole, and the Governance of Reintegration.” British Journal of Criminology. 49: 1-20

Hannah-Moffat, K. (2009). “Gridlock or Mutability: Reconsidering ‘Gender’ and Risk Assessment.” Criminology and Public Policy. 8(1): 221-229

Hannah-Moffat, K. (2008). “Re-Imagining Gendered Penalties: The Myth of Gender Responsivity.” Pat Carlen (ed.)Imaginary Penalties, UK: Willan. (Chapter)

Hannah-Moffat, K. and P. O’Malley (2007). Gendered Risks. London: Routledge Cavendish Publishing. (2009) Reprinted and translated into Spanish (Chapter 1 “Gendered Risks: An Introduction) the University of Buenos Aires and Ad-Hoc Publishers in Buenos Aires.

Hannah-Moffat, K. and P. Marutto (2007). “Understanding Risk in the Context of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.” Canadian Journal of Criminology. 49(4): 465-491

Hannah-Moffat, K. (2006). “Pandora’s Box: Risk/Need and Gender-Responsive Corrections.” Criminology and Public Policy. 5(1): 1301-11.

Marutto, P. and K. Hannah-Moffat (2005). “Assembling Risk and the Restructuring of Penal Control.” British Journal of Criminology. 45: 1-17

Hannah-Moffat, K. (2004). “Criminogenic Need and the Transformative Risk Subject: Hybridizations of Risk/Need in Penality.” Punishment and Society. 7(1): 29-51

Hannah-Moffat, K. (2004). “Losing Ground: Gender, Responsibility and Parole Risk.” Social Politics. 11(3): 363-385


BA, University of Waterloo
MA, University of Toronto
PhD, University of Toronto