Social Work & Criminal Justice

Community Involvement

A – K

Laura Abrams, UCLA
PROFESSOR AND CHAIR
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES

Email: abrams@luskin.ucla.edu
Website: https://luskin.ucla.edu/person/laura-abrams 

Professor Abrams’ scholarship focuses on improving the well being of youth and young adults with histories of incarceration. Her ethnographic studies have examined youths’ experiences of criminality, risk, and institutions seeking to reshape their identities through both therapeutic and punitive practices. These themes are presented in her 2013 book (co-authored with Ben Anderson-Nathe) Compassionate Confinement: A Year in the Life of Unit C, (Rutgers University Press). Her most recent book (co-authored with Diane Terry), Everyday Desistance: The Transition to Adulthood Among Formerly Incarcerated Youth (Rutgers University Press, 2017), examines how formerly incarcerated young men and women navigate reentry and the transition to adulthood in the context of urban Los Angeles. Dr. Abrams is also the lead editor of a 2016 multidisciplinary volume on the role of volunteers and non-profits in changing lives and promoting more humane conditions in prisons and jails: The Voluntary Sector in Prisons: Encouraging Personal and Institutional Change (Palgrave, 2016).

Kristin Bolton, UNC Wilmington

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT WILMINGTON

Email: boltonk@uncw.edu

Website: https://uncw.edu/chhs/swk/about/bio/kristinbolton.html

Bio: Dr. Kristin W. Bolton is an Associate Professor and MSW Program Coordinator in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her research interests include: youth violence prevention, re-entry services, healthy psychological development, and the evidence base of solution focused brief therapy with violent and non-violent offenders.

Janae Bonsu, UIC

DOCTORAL CANDIDATE

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO

Email: jbonsu2@uic.edu

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.

 

Rob Butters, University of Utah
Pajarita Charles, University of Wisconsin - Madison

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MADISON

Email: paja.charles@wisc.edu

Website: https://familywellbeingandjustice.com/;%20https://socwork.wisc.edu/staff/pajarita-charles-mpa-msw-phd/

Pajarita Charles is an Assistant Professor at the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work and an affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty, the Center for Law, Society, and Justice, and the Justice Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research centers on the development, implementation, and testing of family-focused preventive interventions to promote positive outcomes for children and families affected by the criminal justice system. Dr. Charles’ efforts foster research, practice, and public sector partnerships to build capacity for reform and the reduction of the footprint of the criminal justice system. She is a co-leader of the national Promote Smart Decarceration grand challenge network for the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and frequently collaborates with local and state organizations to provide expertise and guidance on issues pertinent to families impacted by the criminal justice system.

Dominique Courts, UCONN

GRADUATE STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT

Email: Dominique.Courts@uconn.edu

Website: https://ssw.uconn.edu/person/c-l-dominique-courts-ma-mft/#

After graduating from NYU with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology with a concentration in Social and Cultural Analysis, Dominique Courts, MA, MFT, earned a clinical master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy at UCONN. Following her work as a therapist, Dominique is now a Crandall-Cordero fellow at The UCONN School of Social Work and invested in affecting change on an institutional and systems level.

As a doctoral student, she is particularly interested in using a reproductive and healing justice framework to understand the healing process for people, who live with intersecting marginalized identities, especially lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and queer individuals of color. The lack of visibility and research around LGBTQ people of color led her to be passionate about conducting mixed-methods and participatory action research to explore various aspects of their lived experiences. Ultimately, Dominique desires to amplify the voices of marginalized populations in her research and use collaborative and empowering research methods and accessible dissemination techniques.

Throughout the CT community, Dominique also facilitates workshops and groups focused on relationships, LGBTQ identities and other topics related to social justice and healing. She centers the lived experiences and needs of the individuals at the intersections of race, sexuality, gender and ability in her research, teaching, clinical and community work and advocacy.

Marcus Crawford, Fresno State University

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, FRESNO STATE UNIVERSITY

Email: marcuscrawford@csufresno.edu

Child welfare, juvenile justice, criminal justice reform.

Patricia Drown, Allied American University

DEAN OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, ALLIED AMERICAN UNIVERSITY

Email: Drpattydrown@yahoo.com

 

Varsha DuBose, LCSW, Southern Connecticut State University

DOCTORAL STUDENT AND TEACHING ASSISTANT, SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY

Email: Dubosev1@southernct.edu 

Bio: Varsha Dubose is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 10 years of practice experience in legal and mental health settings. Varsha is currently a doctoral student and teaching assistant at Southern Connecticut State University. Varsha has practical experience working with justice-involved veterans with significant mental health and substance use disorders. One of the theoretical approaches that Varsha is focusing her research on is critical race theory. Varsha is interested in addressing the intersections of racial oppression and social injustices that are prevalent in the United States judicial system. Varsha’s teaching interest are in areas related to veterans, race/oppression, mental health and substance use disorders within the criminal justice system.

Matt Epperson, University of Chicago

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SERVICE ADMINISTRATION

Email: mepperson@uchicago.edu

Website: https://ssa.uchicago.edu/ssascholars/m-epperson and www.smartdecarceration.org

Matt Epperson, PhD, MSW is an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, where he also serves as Director of the Smart Decarceration Project ( www.smartdecarceration.org ). His research centers on developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions to reduce disparities in the criminal justice system. His primary areas of focus include addressing risk factors for criminal justice involvement among persons with mental illnesses, as well as advancing evidence-based approaches to effective and sustainable decarceration. Dr. Epperson’s scholarship and teaching aim to build the capacity of the social work profession to address these challenges and opportunities for criminal justice transformation. He is Co-Leader of the Promote Smart Decarceration network, through the Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative. Dr. Epperson received his Ph.D. with distinction from the Columbia University School of Social Work, a M.S.W. from Grand Valley State University, and a B.S. in Sociology/Criminal Justice from Central Michigan University. He has over 15 years of clinical and administrative social work experience in behavioral health and criminal justice settings.

 

Jennifer Erwin, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY EDWARDSVILLE

Email: jeerwin@siue.edu

Website: https://www.siue.edu/artsandsciences/social-work/faculty-staff/erwin.shtml

My research focus has primarily explored adult mental health courts. Additional research interests include examining the experiences of adults with mental illness who are involved with the criminal justice system and the role of peer support in treatment courts.

 

Liz Espinoza, College of Saint Rose

VISITING ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, COLLEGE OF SAINT ROSE

Email: espinozl@strose.edu

Liz Espinoza has forensic social work experience at state government level in NY.

 

John Gallagher, Indiana University South Bend

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, INDIANA UNIVERSITY SOUTH BEND

Email: johngall@iupui.edu

Website: https://socialwork.iusb.edu/FacultyAndStaff/profile.php?id=Gallagher_John_johngall

Dr. John R. Gallagher is an Associate Professor in the Indiana University School of Social Work at IU South Bend, where he teaches classes in addiction and mental health counseling. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC) who has practiced addiction and mental health counseling for nearly 20 years. Gallagher’s research agenda is focused on the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in treating opioid use disorders; exploring drug court and other treatment court participants’ lived experiences in programming; identifying the factors that may contribute to racial disparities in treatment court outcomes; program evaluation for drug courts and other treatment courts; and implementing evidence-based interventions to promote addiction and mental health recovery.

 

Ashley Givens, University of Missouri

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

Email: givensa@missouri.edu

My research primarily focuses on early adults involved in the criminal justice system. Specifically, I explore traumatic experiences experienced by this group, as well as mental health needs of this population.

 

Woojae Han, Soongsil University

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, SOONGSIL UNIVERSITY

Email: whan@ssu.ac.kr

Woojae Han is an assistant professor of School of Social Work at Soongsil University in Korea. His research focuses on alternative court system, community rehabilitation for offenders with mental illness, and behavioral health disparities for populations at risk.

Russ Immarigeon

EDITOR

Email: russimmarigeon@fairpoint.net

Editor of national publications on community corrections, alternatives to prison, and offender programming. Editor of 4 books on crime desistance, prisoner reentry, and women and girls in the criminal justice system. Independent researcher on the overuse of incarceration for women and others, and of cash bail in pretrial settings.

Melissa Jonson-Reid, Washington University, St. Louis

RALPH AND MURIEL PUMPHREY PROFESSOR OF SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS

Email: jonsonrd@wustl.edu

Website: https://brownschool.wustl.edu/Faculty-and-Research/Pages/Melissa-Jonson-Reid.aspx

 

Jennifer Kellman Fritz, Eastern Michigan University

DIRECTOR AND PROFESSOR, EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

Email: jkellman@emich.edu 

Website: https://www.emich.edu/chhs/social-work/faculty/j_kellman-fritz.php

Erin Kerrison, UC Berkeley

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY

Email: kerrison@berkeley.edu

Website: http://socialwelfare.berkeley.edu/faculty/erin-kerrison

My research and teaching interests extend from a legal epidemiological framework, wherein law and legal institutions operate as social determinants of health. Specifically, through varied agency partnerships, my mixed-method research agenda investigates the impact that compounded structural disadvantage, concentrated poverty and state supervision has on service delivery, substance abuse, violence and other health outcomes for individuals and communities marked by criminal justice intervention.

L – Z

Jill Levenson, Barry University

PROFESSOR OF SOCIAL WORK, BARRY UNIVERSITY

Email: jlevenson@barry.edu

Website: https://www.barry.edu/social-work/faculty/bios/jlevenson.html

I study the effectiveness of sexual offender registries in reducing recidivism, as well as the impact of registration on offenders and communities. My research fits in the larger context of collateral sanctions of criminal sentencing and its impact on employment, housing, social support, psychosocial risk factors, and successful reintegration. I also study the relationship between childhood adversity and adult criminality, and the need for trauma-informed treatment and re-entry services for offenders.

Kelli J. Marks, Madonna University

BSW PROGRAM DIRECTOR AND ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, MADONNA UNIVERSITY

Email: kmarks@madonna.edu

Dr. Kelli Marks is the BSW Program Director in Social Work. Kelli joined the full time faculty of Madonna University in 2016 and has a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan (2000) with an emphasis in interpersonal practice and children and youth and received her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Oakland University in 2015. Her research focused on the importance of student engagement of academic outcomes, concentrating on minority male achievement.

Kelli worked previously in juvenile justice before entering adult corrections and was employed as a corrections officer with female inmates for several years; she also has 15 years of experience working with adult felons in Oakland County.

Jason Matejkowski, University of Kansas

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS

Email: jmate@ku.edu

Website: http://socwel.ku.edu/people/faculty/matejkowski-jason

Research interests include policies and services involving adults with mental illness who are involved with the criminal justice system or who are homeless.

Carl Mazza, Lehman College CUNY

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AND DEPARTMENT CHAIR, SOCIAL WORK DEPARTMENT LEHMAN COLLEGE (CUNY)

Email: carl.maaza@lehman.cuny.edu

Website: https://www.lehman.edu/academics/health-human-services-nursing/social-work/faculty-mazza.php

Dr. Mazza has written on incarcerated fathers, children of incarcerated parents, prison education, practicing social work in prison, and various issues regarding reentry. He has recently completed a book on fatherhood in the U.S. and has a chapter on incarcerated fathers. He is the former track chair of the Criminal & Juvenile Justice Track for the Council on Social Work Education. He is currently researching and writing a book on social work with exonerated people.

 

Susan McCarter, UNC Charlotte

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA, CHARLOTTE

Email: smccarter@uncc.edu

Website: https://pages.uncc.edu/smccar17/

Dr. McCarter’s career began as a juvenile probation officer, inner-city mental health counselor, and policy analyst and advocate in Virginia. For over 20 years she has served as a Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Scholar (now Racial and Ethnic Disparities (RED)) and a forensic practitioner. Nationally, Dr. McCarter serves as an expert juvenile justice forensic witness, on the board of the National Organization of Forensic Social Work, and chairs the Society of Social Work and Research’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice Interest Group. Regionally, she co-chairs the NC RED Subcommittee and the Charlotte Racial Justice Consortium (funded by the AAC&U and dedicated to truth, racial healing and transformation), and serves on the leadership team for Race Matters for Juvenile Justice as well as their Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) Team. Dr. McCarter currently facilitates the UNC Charlotte Racial Equity Skill Building Caucus and leads multiple funded research studies examining the School-to-Prison Pipeline (STPP), Juvenile Diversion, and Racial Equity.

Branden McLeod, UIC

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, JANE ADDAMS SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO

Email: bmcleod7@uic.edu

Website: https://socialwork.uic.edu/profiles/branden-a-mcleod/

My research examines the intersection between fatherhood and the criminal justice system. I endeavor unpack how the criminal justice system potentially attenuates the role of fathers and the factors that mitigate, sustain, and strengthen paternal involvement and family well-being. I teach social welfare, social policy analysis and advocacy, and research methods

Ivan Medina, Loyola University Chicago

CLINICAL FACULTY, LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO

Email: imedina@luc.edu

Website: https://www.luc.edu/socialwork/aboutus/facultystaff/medinaivan.shtml

Louisiana Medina, USC
Nakia Miller, UCONN

ADJUNCT PROFESSOR AND ADVISOR, UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT

Email: nakia.miller@uconn.edu

As the ongoing epidemic of Mass Incarceration increases, it is imperative to research, understand and knowledgeable of the interventions that already implemented which have been both successful and unsuccessful to be able to develop interventions that will be effective. As social workers, it is our duty to be well informed of the challenges that individuals affected by criminal justice system face as well as possible interventions to help them regain quality of life taken from them because of criminalization. ​

 

Trang Nguyen, VNU

PhD, VNU-UNIVERSITY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES

Email: maiphivn@yahoo.com

I am interested in crime and delinquency, and have been studied violent behaviours for years, mostly students’ violent conducts including bullying at school, and domestic violence. I am working to find a way to establish the presence of social work in justice system in Vietnam, firstly for juvenile justice.

Jacoba Rock, Juniata College

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, JUNIATA COLLEGE

Email: rock@juniata.edu

Website: https://www.juniata.edu/academics/departments/sociology/faculty.php

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.

Megan Schlegel, San Jose State University
Craig Schwalbe, Columbia University
Shannon Sliva, University of Denver

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, GRADUATE SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK, UNIVERSITY OF DENVER

Email: shannon.sliva@du.edu

Website: https://socialwork.du.edu/about/gssw-directory/shannon-marie-sliva

Shannon Sliva is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver, where she conducts leading research on restorative and collaborative approaches to justice which challenge current criminal legal models. Her work questions the efficacy of courts and prisons as mechanisms of justice and considers the role of dialogue and shared experiences in transforming people and systems. Sliva tracks state-level restorative justice legislation across the U.S., and is currently partnering with Colorado practitioners, policymakers and advocates to document the impacts of leading-edge restorative justice laws and develop recommendations for policy transfer. Most recently, Sliva’s research team – in partnership with Sterling Correctional Facility in the Colorado Department of Corrections – joined the Urban Institute’s Prison Innovation and Research Network, a six state consortium to test transformative innovations in correctional facilities. Sliva is also the Director of Research for the University of Denver Prison Arts Initiative, where she oversees evaluation of DU PAI’s arts-based workshops and public performances.

 

Kim Stauss, University of Arkansas

PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS – SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK

Email: kstauss@uark.edu

I have collaborated on the development of letter-writing program to help incarcerated parents reconnect with their children. We have completed research on this program and tried to disseminate this program in both community and departmental correctional facilities.

Carolyn Sutherby, Michigan State University

DOCTORAL CANDIDATE, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

Email: sutherb2@msu.edu

Carolyn has been a social work adjunct professor since 2008, teaching a variety of BSW and MSW courses at four universities. She is also certified to teach the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program. Carolyn is completing her Ph.D. in Social Work at Michigan State University, and her research interests involve maternal mental health and substance use disorders, alternatives to incarceration, and the intersection of behavioral health and criminal justice.

Hiroki Toi, Toyo University

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, TOYO UNIVERSITY

Email: hirokitoi.sw@gmail.com

Website: http://ris.toyo.ac.jp/profile/en.49ce7e9f9582deae7ed49a595b30efe8.html

Hiroki Toi is an Assistant Professor at Toyo University in Japan where he teaches criminal justice and social work for undergraduate students. Hiroki’s research primarily focuses on better understanding the professional values and conflict among forensic social workers. Hiroki worked as a research assistant for the Connecticut State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and has practiced in forensic psychiatric hospital, prison hospital, and also served as a social work advisor at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office.

 

Christine Toner, Fordham University
Lilane Windsor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

DIRECTOR FOR FACULTY RESEARCH, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS URBANA-CHAMPAIGN

Email: lwindsor@illinois.edu

Website: www.newarkccb.org

Liliane Cambraia Windsor, Ph.D., MSW is the Director of Faculty Research and Associate Professor at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, School of Social Work. Her research focuses on the application of critical consciousness theory to the development of multi-level interventions designed to reduce health inequalities related to substance use disorders, including HIV infection and incarceration in marginalized communities. Dr. Windsor follows community based participatory research (CBPR) principles and utilizes a variety of scientific methodologies including ethnography, randomized experimental controlled trials, measurement development, meta-analysis, and online survey. Dr. Windsor is the founder and chair of the Newark Community Collaborative Board, a group of researchers, service providers, and consumers developed Community Wise, a multilevel intervention designed to reduce substance use frequency, criminal offending, and health risk behaviors. Dr. Windsor has overseen numerous research studies in the United States and in Brazil. Currently, she is principal investigator of the Community Wise Optimization study (R01 funded by NIMHD) and its administrative supplements. Dr. Windsor is also a co-investigator in the Social Action in Rural Communities Study, an Avant Guarde research award from NIDA to Dr. Dolores Albarracin. Finally, Dr. Windsor is a RWJ Health Policy fellow at the National Academy of Medicine. Her teaching interests include research methods, social justice, and substance use disorders. Born and raised in Brazil, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from FCH-FUMEC, Brazil in 1998. She moved to Texas in 2000 to pursue her Master of Science and doctoral degrees in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin.

Hidenori Yamatani, Pittsburgh University

ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR RESEARCH PITTSBURGH UNIVERSITY, PROFESSOR OF SOCIAL WORK

Email: hzy@pitt.edu

Website: http://crsp.pitt.edu/person/hidenori-yamatani-phd-msw

As the Pitt School of Social Work’s associate dean for research, Yamatani oversees sponsored research, training, and service projects; provides proposal-development assistance for external funding; promotes interdisciplinary research projects; enhances scholarly research and activities; and facilitates faculty mentoring. A full professor, his research specialties include organizational development, strategic planning, program optimization and evaluation, and community research. Yamatani directs Pitt’s Community Enhancement Research Network (CERN), which promotes community development through collaborative applied social work research. CERN includes faculty from the social work school and other Pitt units as well as non-Pitt researchers and community stakeholders.