Fernando Avila

Assistant Professor, Critical Criminology

Office: STH 425
905-688-5550 x5304

PhD, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto.
MA in Criminology, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina.
LLM in Criminal Law, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina
LLB in Law, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina.

Dr. Fernando Avila’s research program is rooted in decolonial perspectives, exploring the intersections of criminology, postcolonial studies, global south criminology, punishment and society, and sociolegal studies. His work focuses on understanding how societies comprehend and govern risk, crime, and marginalized populations, with a particular emphasis on the Global South. Having conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in the Uruguayan medium-security prison, Punta de Rieles, Fernando’s research challenges Western and hegemonic legal frameworks by investigating exceptional practices with carceral institutions.

Drawing from his experience as a human rights and criminal lawyer, Fernando’s scholarship is driven by a commitment to social justice and activism. He works with several government and non-profit organizations and on issues related to criminal justice reform. Moreover, he is an active member of the Latin American Human Rights NGO Asociación Pensamiento Penal.  Methodologically, he relies on qualitative approaches, employing in-depth interviews, participant observation, and media and policy analysis.

Dr. Avila is enthusiastic about working with graduate students who are interested in researching different aspects of prisons, punishment and society, and postcolonial studies.

Selected Publications: 

  • Avila, F., Hannah-Moffat, K. (2023) “Prospective but Disconnected Partners: Epistemology, Translations and AI informed Criminal Risk Prediction Algorithms”. Book chapter in Handbook of Critical Studies of Artificial Intelligence
  • Avila, F., Sozzo, M. (2022). The “Prisoner-Entrepreneur”: Responsibilization and Co-governance at Punta de Rieles Prison in Uruguay. In: Sozzo, M. (eds) Prisons, Inmates and Governance in Latin America. Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • Avila, F., & Bundy J. (2021). Prison abolitionism and critical race theory. In Montford, K.S., & Taylor, C. (Eds.). (2021). Building Abolition: Decarceration and Social Justice (1st ed.). Routledge.
  • Avila, F., Hannah-Moffat, K., & Maurutto, P. (2020). The Seductiveness of Fairness: Is Machine Learning the Answer? – Algorithmic Fairness in Criminal Justice Systems. In M. Schuilenburg & R. Peeters (Eds.), The algorithmic society: Technology, power, and knowledge. ROUTLEDGE.
  • Avila, Fernando. (2020) “Pains of imprisonment in Punta de Riels prison-town”. Revista Cuestiones Criminales. Special issue N. 3. 257-287
  • Avila, F., & Sozzo, M. (2020). Peculiar responsibilization? Exploring a governing strategy in an atypical prison in the Global South. Punishment & Society. https4520972464://doi.org/10.1177/146247
  • Ávila, Fernando; Gutiérrez, Mariano H. “Right to dignified work in prisons. Experience in Penitentiary of Batán case”. Chapter in the book “Seeking a progressive agenda for the criminal system”. Editorial Siglo XXI. 2014.
  • Ávila, Fernando; Juliano, Mario. “Against lifetime imprisonment”. Del Puerto Editorial. 2012.