A – K
I bring more than 25 years of clinical experience with justice-involved women and other marginalized groups. I am tenaciously committed to smart decarceration research, policy, and practice and throughout my career aimed to embrace what academia together with activism can offer change-agents and guide and support radical social change.
My dissertation research was an inquiry into redemptive narratives and the distance process for justIce-involved women with the goal of adding to the knowledge base of desistance, advocating for policies and interventions that support the process of distance and promoting a unifying framework to bridge micro and macro approaches with vulnerable and marginalized populations. Currently, I am a PI on a CBPR project using Photovoice with the urban youth with the lived experience of parental incarceration.
The synthesis of my clinical and research experience prepares me for the dual role of researcher and policy-maker and utilizing evidence to advance policy and practice. My research interests are vast and include the intersection of micro and macro issues amplified within criminal justice systems including racial, gender and economic justice and human rights.
D. Michael Applegarth, UCLA
PHD STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES
My primary area of interest within the correctional system involves the reentry process and the various challenges that accompany this process. Some of the specific factors I am interested in examining include how young adults with mental illness and substance use challenges navigate reintegrating into society. I am also interested in how individuals’ social networks, inmate’s programing and treatment during incarceration, and system-level factors may mitigate successful outcomes for individuals during the reentry process. Furthermore, I am interested in how correctional environments and conditions create barriers for individuals to engage in desistance from criminal behavior.
Pajarita Charles, University of Wisconsin - Madison
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MADISON
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.
Phillipe Copeland, Boston University
CLINICAL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, 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.
Dominique Courts, UCONN
GRADUATE STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
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
Child welfare, juvenile justice, criminal justice reform.
Matt Epperson, University of Chicago
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SERVICE ADMINISTRATION
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
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
Liz Espinoza has forensic social work experience at state government level in NY.
Ivan Godfrey, SUNY Ulster
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, SUNY ULSTER
I have participated in a recent research study about the value of post secondary education for incarcerated persons. My teaching interest and expertise is in Alternative to Incarceration & Reentry strategies and iniatives
Aaron Gottlieb, UIC
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, JANE ADDAMS COLLEGE OF SOCIAL WORK, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO
Dr. Gottlieb’s research focuses on the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in the United States and how to effectively reduce U.S. reliance on incarceration. His scholarship has been published in leading social work, criminology, and sociology journals.
Woojae Han, Soongsil University
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, SOONGSIL UNIVERSITY
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.
Debra Hrouda, Northeast Ohio Medical University
DIRECTOR OF PRACTICE IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION, NORTHEAST OHIO MEDICAL UNIVERSITY
Focus on the implementation of evidence-based, best, and emerging practices for people along the continuum of justice involvement.
Jennifer Kenney, University of Alabama
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
I am primarily interested in the issues that affect adult women and their entry into the criminal justice system. The risk factors that I am currently focusing on include: trauma, substance abuse, mental health, employment, and class (SES) issues. I am also working on a project related to media consumption, fear of crime, and the attitudinal and behavioral consequences of that fear. I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. In the classroom, I teach classes in the areas of: social inequality, gender and crime, victimology, and drug use and policy.
Erin Kerrison, UC Berkeley
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY
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.
Jean Kjellstrand, University of Oregon
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
Dr. Jean Kjellstrand, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Human Services at the University of Oregon, focuses on parental incarceration. Specifically, she examines how parental incarceration impacts child development, and how to support children and their parents both during and after incarceration. Her goal is to create effective interventions that are affordable, acceptable, and sustainable within existing delivery systems. Before entering academics, Dr. Kjellstrand was a licensed social worker for over 15 years. During this period, she developed and coordinated several individual, group, and community interventions to support and empower children and families in high-risk circumstances.
K – Z
George Leibowitz, Stony Brook University
PROFESSOR, STONY BROOK, UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WELFARE
For the past 20 years, I have been working as an interdisciplinary researcher, forensic evaluator, national consultant and trainer in the related fields of adolescent delinquency, addictions, sexually harmful behavior among youth, and adult sexually offending behavior. I am interested in research on sex offender registry reform, restorative justice, and compassionate release laws. I am also a member of the National Association of Forensic Social Work recently co-authored the following textbook: Maschi, T. & Leibowitz, G.S. (Eds.) (2018). Forensic social work: Psychosocial and legal issues across diverse populations and settings (2nd Ed.). New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Caroline Long, University of Maryland
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK
I have a child welfare background and an ongoing interest in parental incarceration, particularly maternal incarcerated, and the children of incarcerated parents. Additionally, I have a focus on smart decarceration and alternative sentencing.
Louisiana Medina, USC
Carrie Pettus-Davis, Florida State University
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, FOUNDING DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
Research and Professional Specializations: applied community-based intervention research with current and former prisoners, services evaluation using corrective statistical modeling, social support and social networks for current and former prisoners, substance use disorders, mental illnesses, and co-occurrence in prisoner populations, transitions from prison to community-based living for former prisoners and their families, trauma and victimization in current and former prisoners, and University – Criminal Justice Practitioner partnerships.
Lauren Ricciardelli, Troy University
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, TROY UNIVERSITY
My overarching, mixed-methods research focus is the intersection of social policy and social work professional ethics across the following topics: criminal justice policy and the death penalty; disability; and, immigration policy/ crimmigration. My secondary research trajectory focuses on social work ethics and digital technology, drawing out implications for both the criminal justice system and the social work profession.
Jacoba Rock, Juniata College
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, 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.
Allison Salisbury, UIUC
PHD STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
Allison Salisbury (she/her/hers), MSW, is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, School of Social Work. Her research interests include criminal justice content in the social work curriculum.
Sophia Sarantakos, University of Chicago
DOCTORAL STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
I am a doctoral student interested in the discretionary decision-making behaviors of criminal-legal actors, largely focusing on local prosecutors.
Shannon Sliva, University of Denver
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, GRADUATE SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK, UNIVERSITY OF DENVER
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
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.
Mel Wilson, NASW
SENIOR POLICY CONSULTANT, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS
My interest and experience with criminal justice and social work includes being active in criminal justice policy and legislative actions via my affiliation with – NASW, the Justice Roundtable , the Justice Reform Taskforce, and the Criminal Justice Behavioral Health Work Group. I have also written several NASW Social Justice Briefs on topics including bail reform, racial profiling, drug policy, and juvenile justice issues.