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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.
Janae Bonsu, UIC
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO
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.
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.
Rob Butters, University of Utah
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
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.
Aditi Das, UC Berkeley
POST-DOCTORAL SCHOLAR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY
Aditi Das is a former Postdoctoral Scholar at the Mack Center on Nonprofit and Public Sector Management in the Human Services at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Das’s research focuses on strengthening upstream human service delivery for vulnerable children, youth and families while assessing sustainability of reform efforts within complex human service organizations. In close partnership with California Bay Area counties, Aditi lead three projects focused on 1) understanding client and frontline worker perspectives on recent TANF policy reforms, 2) showcasing innovative county practices within child welfare and welfare-to-work services, and 3) building a compendium of age-friendly initiatives for adult and aging services. Her dissertation supported by a competitive grant from the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, focuses on the implementation of restorative justice reform within an urban public-school district to address the school-to-prion pipeline. Her work has been published at premier social work journals such as Contemporary Justice Review, Youth and Society and has presented her work at various national conferences including the Society for Social Work and Research, Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management and Network for Social Work Management. Dr. Das completed her PhD from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and her MSW from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India.
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.
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.
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.
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
Lauri Goldkind, Fordham University
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY
Dr. Goldkind has a longstanding interest and practice background in nonprofit leadership, capacity building and organizational development. Her practice experience has been centered in the youth development, education and juvenile justice realms. Prior to joining the faculty at Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service, she served as the Director of the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services’ (CASES) School Connection Center, a public school admissions office for youth exiting the justice system. She was instrumental in developing the Center’s operational infrastructure, including creating and maintaining all data systems and documenting the Center’s progress. She also helped craft policy and develop data management applications at Community Prep High School, a school for young people transitioning back to their communities from the juvenile justice system. Before that she held program planning and fund raising positions at agencies serving young people in New York City, including the Posse Foundation, where she was the first director of development.
Dr. Goldkind’s current research work centers on the intersection of the juvenile justice and public education system’s impact on urban youth. She is presently conducting a national study of school social workers exploring their role in the school re-entry process of juvenile justice youth. Dr. Goldkind is also interested in domestic trafficking issues and is partnering with the Girls Education Mentoring Services (GEMS) to document their programmatic model and highlight the complex and unexplored issues of girls who are commercially sexually exploited.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
Branden McLeod, UIC
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, JANE ADDAMS SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO
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.
Louisiana Medina, USC
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.
Trang Nguyen, VNU
PhD, VNU-UNIVERSITY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES
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.
Clark Peters, University of Missouri
Hughlett Powell, United Arab Emirates University
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES UNIVERSITY
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.
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.
Carolyn Sutherby, Michigan State University
DOCTORAL CANDIDATE, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY
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.
Barb Toews, University of Washington Tacoma
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON TACOMA
My interests include restorative justice, jails and prisons, and architecture/design. I am a long time restorative justice practitioner and educator, with substantial experience in victim offender dialogue in nonviolent and violent crime. Since 2000, my work has focused on the application of restorative justice in correctional facilities and the meaning and implications of such applications. This work has included educating incarcerated men and women about the philosophy and its common practices and supporting them as they develop and facilitate their own programs. More recently, my interests have grown to include the relationship between restorative justice, architecture/design of correctional facilities and other buildings in which criminal justice occurs, and psycho-social-behavioral-judicial outcomes.
Katherine Van Wormer, University of Northern Iowa
PROFESSOR EMIRITA OF SOCIAL WORK, UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA
Dr. van Wormer is the author or co-author of 15 books (not counting new editions), including Death by Domestic Violence: Preventing the Murders and the Murder-Suicides. Some of her recent books are: Confronting Oppression, Restoring Justice: From Policy Analysis to Social Action (2nd ed.) (co-authored by L .Kaplan and C. Juby) (CSWE, 2012); The Maid Narratives (LSU Press, 2012); Restorative Justice Today (SAGE, 2013); Women and the Criminal Justice System (co-authored with C. Bartollas) (Pearson, 2014); Social Welfare Policy for a Sustainable Future (SAGE, 2016), Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Micro Level and HBSE, Macro Level (Oxford University Press, 2017) and Addiction Treatment: A Strengths Perspective (4th ed.) (co-authored with D.R. Davis) (Cengage, 2018). Van Wormer is currently working on a 5th edition of Women and the Criminal Justice System.