Policy and Courts
A – K
Tina Barr, UNC Pembroke
CONSULTANT AND TRAINER
Kate Barrow, LCSW, specializes in trauma-informed and anti-oppressive approaches to social services, management, and systems change work. She has expertise in criminal justice, mental health, trauma, racial justice, and youth development. She currently works as a nonprofit management trainer, organizational consultant, clinical supervisor, and management coach, with an emphasis on criminal justice settings.
A nonprofit manager for 15 years, Kate spent nearly a decade working in the criminal justice system. From 2015-2018 she directed a professional development institute for an interdisciplinary criminal justice agency in New York City. In this role she led the professional development initiatives for a staff of over 500, and directed 150 hours of trainings annually. Previously, she directed clinical programs in court-based, social service, and foster care settings, with a focus on systems-involved youth. She has been an adjunct professor at New York University, and John Jay College through the Prisoner Reentry Institute. Kate was previously named an emerging social work leader by the National Association of Social Workers New York City Chapter for her work incorporating social justice values into clinical work.
Kate completed her BA at Naropa University in Contemplative Psychology, her MSW at the Silver School of Social Work at NYU, and an advanced certificate in clinical supervision through Smith College. She is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of New York.
Brita Bookser, UC Berkeley
DOCTORAL CANDIDATE, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY
Brita A. Bookser’s research interests include early care and education, education policy, carceral logics in education, feminist anti-carceral studies, womanism, and critical race theory. Her research-praxis agenda is facilitated by varied agency partnerships that explore policies and pedagogies for inclusion and civic engagement. Bookser’s qualitatively-driven mixed-method dissertation explores a typology of exclusionary discipline measures in preschools and examines how structural factors influence exclusionary tactics in early care and education settings.
Kelli Canada, University of Missouri
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI
Kelli received her Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Depauw University, a Master’s of Science in Social Work at Columbia University, and her Ph.D. in Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Kelli worked in Chicago as a clinical social worker in psychiatric rehabilitation and with older adults living in the community. Kelli is a mental health services researcher who investigates mental health service delivery and consumer experiences with treatment within the criminal justice system. Some of her most recent projects explored the experiences of consumers in mental health courts and veterans within the criminal justice system.
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.
Varsha DuBose, LCSW, Southern Connecticut State University
DOCTORAL STUDENT AND TEACHING ASSISTANT, SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY
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
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.
John Gallagher, Indiana University South Bend
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, INDIANA UNIVERSITY SOUTH BEND
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.
John M. Gallagher, University of Arkansas, School of Social Work
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK
Bio: My work focuses on behavioral and social interventions delivered within the criminal justice system. Current projects include (1) intervention and program fidelity in a mentor program for justice-involved veterans; (2) evaluation of Veterans Treatment Courts in Arkansas and Arizona, and (3) testing of a letter-writing group intervention for inmates with minor children. Topical and theoretical areas of interest include veterans, problem-solving courts, incarcerated parents, procedural justice, legal legitimacy, social identity, community bonds, peer-mentorship, and program evaluation.
Carina Gallo, San Francisco State University
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, CRIMINAL JUSTICE STUDIES, SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY
Bio: My scholarship addresses historical and international trends in crime and welfare policies, with particular attention to how policies and laws intending to support underrepresented and marginalized groups have developed over the last century. I am especially interested in the “criminalization” of poverty and the penalization of vulnerable populations. One of my recent research projects examines how categories in crime policy, such as the “crime victim,” have crossed over to welfare law and policy. The study shows how new categories can change the way policy makers and practitioners conceptualize social problems, in particular, poverty and inequality. I’m currently working on a book exploring the roots of the Swedish victim movement. This book is vital to informing the literature how different societies have approached issues related to crime and victims.
I am also a trained social worker. Before entering academia, I worked with many different actors involved in the criminal justice system. For instance, between 2001 and 2006 I was the director of a nongovernmental victim support center, which provides services to over 500 crime victims per year.
Matthew Gilmour, Florida State University
DOCTORAL STUDENT, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
My current research interests are focused on correctional and criminal justice system policies and reform, particularly inmate medical and mental health care, inmate rights, privatization of correctional/criminal justice services, reentry and rehabilitation. I am also interested in the utilization of research in advocacy work as it relates to social justice in general, particularly racial disparities and other issues involving the oppression of marginalized populations.
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.
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.
Jalonta Jackson, Troy University
LECTURER, TROY UNIVERSITY
Developing the first Social Work and Criminal Justice course at Troy University.
Leah Jacobs, University of Pittsburgh
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
My research interests include: socio-structural risk factors for criminal justice involvement; the role of neighborhood qualities in contributing to arrests among people with mental health and substance use problems; the provision of mental health and substance abuse treatment in jails; and reentry programs that seek to decrease recidivism among individuals with mental health and substance abuse problems.
I have my bachelors, masters, and doctorate in social work which is my true passion. My main area of work has concerned on children, youth, and families in the areas of poverty, violence, substance use, abuse, and child welfare. Motivated by my experiences in child welfare, most of my work recently has been specific to mothers, trauma, and PTSD. Specifically, examining the mediating and moderating influences that attachment and the social environment have on family stability, trauma symptomology, and overall resiliency. I also have extensive experience in mezzo and macro aspects of social work including communities, policy, advocacy, grant writing, teaching, and research. I am an Associate Professor of social work and in my free time enjoy hiking, yoga, cooking, reading and spending time with my pets/family. Please feel free to reach out to me at anytime with questions, comments, or collaborations.
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.
Peter A. Kindle, University of South Dakota
PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH DAKOTA
I taught inside a Texas prison for six years while completing my doctorate in social work, then spent over a year volunteering with the Second Chance Program of the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission before locating my current faculty position in South Dakota. I am expecting to conduct a program evaluation for the Carver County jail’s new mental health program over the next two years.
Karen Kolivoski, Howard University
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, HOWARD UNIVERSITY
My research interests focus on crossover youth, specifically on understanding how factors in children and youths’ experiences within the child welfare system impact subsequent juvenile and criminal justice system involvement. I am especially interested in understanding the role of out of home placements within the child welfare system, youths’ relationships and perceptions of their child welfare caseworkers, and sibling and family influences as related to criminal justice outcomes. I also have interest and experience in transfer of youths to the adult system and juvenile life without parole, including the misconduct/experiences of youth in prisons. In regards to teaching, I teach in the criminal justice field of practice specialization in the MSW program at Howard University.
L – Z
Lewis Lee, University of Alabama
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
Dr. Lewis Hyukseung Lee has experience working with incarcerated adults and with youth who have come in contact with the criminal justice system. Prior to joining Pitt’s doctoral program, he worked as the Assistant Director for the Korean Community Center in Englewood, New Jersey, where he provided community services for immigrant minorities. His research interests include social policy in the criminal justice system, criminal desistance, mental health disparities and service use, substance use, community-based participatory research, macro practice.
Jill Levenson, Barry University
PROFESSOR OF SOCIAL WORK, BARRY UNIVERSITY
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.
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.
Kelli J. Marks, Madonna University
BSW PROGRAM DIRECTOR AND ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, MADONNA UNIVERSITY
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.
Carl Mazza, Lehman College CUNY
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AND DEPARTMENT CHAIR, SOCIAL WORK DEPARTMENT LEHMAN COLLEGE (CUNY)
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
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.
Nakia Miller, UCONN
ADJUNCT PROFESSOR AND ADVISOR, UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
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.
Louisiana Medina, USC
Karen Oehme, Institute for Family Violence Studies
Eyitayo Onifade, Clark Atlanta University
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY
Gregory Perkins, Walden University
CONTRIBUTING FACULTY, WALDEN UNIVERSITY
Clark Peters, University of Missouri
Sheryl Pimlott Kubiak, Wayne State University
DEAN AT WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK, FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR BEHAVIORAL HEALTH AND JUSTICE
Sheryl Kubiak is the founding Director of Wane State University’s Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ). Her research interests are at the intersections of criminal legal system and behavioral health (mental health and substance use disorders); encompassing both individual as well as systems issues. The CBHJ employs 35 full time individuals involved in a number of various projects at over 20 jails and prisons across Michigan. Dr. Kubiak’s personal research has examined the implications of cumulative stress, PTSD and depression among women in various phases of the criminal justice system; assessed the implications of welfare reform and the child welfare system on those with convictions; analyzed the effects of PTSD on relapse and recidivism among incarcerated men and women; tested the validity and practicality of a brief mental health screening measure for use in a large metropolitan jail; assessed the effects of criminal justice funding of community-based substance abuse treatment nationally; tested interventions in prison settings and lead a statewide evaluation of mental health courts.
Mark Plassmeyer, University of Arkansas
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS
My research broadly focuses on the criminal justice system with an emphasis on drug policy and policies that impact people with criminal histories.
I teach social welfare policy and political advocacy courses that focus on local, national, and global economic and social issues while making sure to emphasize the role of drug policy and criminal justice policy in exacerbating these issues. I also helped develop a drug policy class that will be part of our new substance use minor. Lastly, I advocate for increased involvement in the political process for social workers and the socially and economically marginalized communities they serve, particularly people who use drugs and/or have criminal histories.
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.
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.
Megan Schlegel, San Jose State University
LECTURER, SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY
Margaret Severson, University of Kansas
PROFESSOR EMIRITA, UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS
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.
Hiroki Toi, Toyo University
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, TOYO UNIVERSITY
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.
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.