Heather Ann Thompson is professor of history at in the Department of Afro-American and African Studies, the Residential College, and the Department of History at the University of Michigan. Thompson writes about the history as well as current crises of mass incarceration for numerous popular and scholarly publications. Her work can be found in the New York Times, Time, The Atlantic, Salon, and The Huffington Post, and she has appeared as well on NPR, Sirius Radio, on various television news programs, and in a number of documentaries.
Several of Thompson’s scholarly pieces, including “Why Mass Incarceration Matters,” have won best article awards, and her popular piece in The Atlantic, “How Prisons Change the Balance of Power in America,” was named a finalist for the Best Media Award given by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Thompson is a Soros Justice Fellow, sits on the board of the Prison Policy Initiative, and recently served as well on a National Academy of Sciences blue-ribbon panel to study causes and consequences of incarceration in the United States. In that capacity she has presented to various policy organizations in Washington, DC, has given briefings on incarceration to Congressional staff, and participated in a historic bipartisan summit on criminal justice reform in March 2015.
Her books include Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Rebellion of 1971 and its Legacy (Pantheon Books), Whose Detroit: Politics, Labor and Race in a Modern American City and the edited collection Speaking Out: Protest and Activism in the 1960s and 1970s. Thompson was also named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians.