Noah Zatz is examining how government threats of incarceration force people in the United States into precarious and underpaid work situations, a phenomenon he calls “get to work or go to jail.” Zatz contrasts this with the more common argument that racialized mass incarceration causes labor market exclusion by erecting barriers to employment. He hopes to identify new legal and policy reform strategies that protect workers from exploitation produced by the criminalization of unemployment.
Zatz is professor of law and faculty codirector of the Critical Race Studies Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, and associate director of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. His research focuses on law and policy concerning low-wage and no-wage work, especially at their intersections with civil rights, public benefits, family law, immigration, and criminal justice. Previously, he worked as a Skadden Fellow and staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project in New York City.