Social Work & the Criminal Legal System


A – Z

Janae Bonsu, UIC




Bio: I am a doctoral candidate at Jane Addams College of Social Work, activist, and restorative justice practitioner. My work is based in an intersectional and structural analysis. My current work interrogates the intersection of gender-based violence, policing, and survivor empowerment; building and sustaining models of transformative justice; and policies that directly impact incarcerated people and their families.

Phillipe Copeland, Boston University



My interest is in the policing and punishment systems as mechanisms of racial capitalism and educating people to not only effectively abolish them, but help survivors to recover from their consequences.

Sam Harrell, Portland State University



Bio: Carceral social work, abolitionist social work, social welfare history, transformative justice, mandatory reporting, child sexual abuse

Topic Areas:

  • Abolition
Jacoba Rock, Juniata College




Jacoba Rock is an Assistant Professor of Social Work and Criminal Justice and the B.S.W. Program Director at Juniata College. She received her Master of Social Work degree, with a clinical concentration in work with High-Risk Youth in 2010, and a graduate certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution in 2008, both from the University of Denver. She received her doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies, with a doctoral minor in Criminology, from Pennsylvania State University in 2021. Dr. Rock’s research focuses on the developmental consequences of childhood trauma, including biological, cognitive, and social contributions, for individuals involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems, and related intervention opportunities for incarcerated juveniles and young adults. She leads an assessment and intervention study at a Department of Corrections facility which houses young adult offenders, testing the use of a staff empathy training and implementation of a mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral intervention. Prior research has focused on restorative practices in juvenile correctional facilities, and systemic disparities in response to parole violations. Dr. Rock maintains social work licensure in both Colorado and Pennsylvania, where she continues to assess a small number of clients serving life without parole sentences for crimes convicted as juveniles, and provide court testimony in these cases; this work began in 2012, following the Miller v. Alabama Supreme Court ruling which held that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juveniles. Her work has focused on collaborating with attorneys and other criminal justice advocates to encourage the use of social science research which supports resentencing efforts and service access for incarcerated young people. Before 2012, Dr. Rock worked for several years in the child welfare system, as an assessment specialist and caseworker. Between her undergraduate and graduate training, she was also the program coordinator for a restorative justice program based at a police department. She went on to facilitate psychoeducational groups for young adult offenders, primarily those with substance use and anger management related needs. Dr. Rock’s courses include program evaluation, clinical practice courses, cognitive behavioral therapy, group treatment, restorative approaches, child and adolescent trauma, adolescent development, social welfare policy, and juvenile delinquency and youth violence. Dr. Rock serves on the HEAL-PA Trauma Consultation team, Pennsylvania Re-Entry Council, and the Pennsylvania Office of Advocacy and Reform 21st Century Solutions think tank. She also serves Juniata College through participation on the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council, Bias Response Team, General Education Committee, Health Professions Committee, and Baker Institute board.