SUMMARY OF PROJECTS, PUBLICATIONS, & FUNDING
My research examines criminological theory and corrections, typically through a gendered or intersectional lens. I use both quantitative and qualitative methods, with an emphasis on mixed methods. Often, the needs of correctional clients are "out of sight, out of mind." By using qualitative methods in addition to typical quantitative evaluation methods, I am able to amplify the voices of those under supervision. The emphasis on gender and intersectionality helps ensure correctional practices are inclusive and effective across diverse subgroups.
To date, I published 11 peer-reviewed journal articles and nine chapters/entries, the majority as first author. I consistently secured both internal and external funding each year towards my research. I delivered over 30 presentations at national conferences as well as campus talks and trainings/workshops for local agencies. My research has also been recognized through institutional and national awards, including the American Society of Criminology Division on Women and Crime Graduate Student Paper Award. I involve undergraduate and graduate students in research as a thesis chair/committee member or towards directed study credits with opportunities for co-authorship.
Below is a summary of my current and past projects by topic.
Gendered Pathways, Women's Imprisonment, and Gender-Responsive Correctional Practices
Much of my research is focused on women's pathways, supervision, and treatment. The gendered pathways perspective accounts for the distinct biological, psychological, and social realities of women relevant to their involvement in the criminal justice system. Since 1970, women's imprisonment rates domestically and internationally have increased by over 700% and 50% higher than men's incarceration. Nonetheless, most approaches in correctional are "generalized," but do not account for women's distinct treatment needs.
I conduct research on women's pathways, women's imprisonment, and gender-responsive correctional strategies, including assessment and treatment. I train correctional agencies on gender-responsive approaches for women. I am also a certified trainer of the Women's Risk Needs Assessment, a women-centered actuarial assessment. Trauma-informed care and treatment are especially important for women as the majority have histories of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. My dissertation, chaired by Dr. Emily Salisbury (University of Utah), used in-depth interviews and focus groups with women under community supervision in Oregon to examine women's pathways and their experiences under correctional supervision.
Stemming from my dissertation research, Cassandra Boyer (Doctoral Student, University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and I assessed women's responses to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) using qualitative interviews and focus groups. We found that on average women in the sample had experienced seven different types of ACEs. The most common response to ACEs was substance use to cope with trauma. Here is a sample quote by participant Scarlet (pseudonym):
“When I was about six or seven, my mom remarried. He abused us girls in every sense of the word for a couple years. He really committed the worst abuse when any of us were left alone. [I use because of] my childhood... I don't like feeling lows in my emotions. I use not to feel... I wanted to be numb... I would say that my childhood, out of everything we talked about, had the most impact on [my system-involvement].”
An Intersectional Lens
A major area of my research is centered around women's intersectional experiences and how they relate to system-involvement. Few studies disaggregated women's imprisonment rates by race. Using prison admissions data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and other state-level secondary data for control variables, Dr. Mark Harmon (Portland State University) and I found that Black women are the faster subpopulation of those incarcerated. It is the incarceration of Black women for drug and property offenses that have largely driven the increase in women's incarceration. Various Get-Tough reforms also impacted racial disparities. This research was completed as part of my master's project.
I advocate for intersectionally-responsive correctional strategies, which "recognize the interaction between gender, race, and other categories of difference that often impact persons' initial involvement in the criminal justice system, experiences on supervision and in treatment programming, as well as reentry in the community." My early work in this area was awarded the American Society of Criminology Division on Women and Crime Graduate Student Paper Award in 2016. I now train and work collaboratively with correctional agencies to implement diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. I recently was awarded an internal grant to study the initial impacts of a DEI on client outcomes with a local substance abuse program for women under correctional supervision. My future research will further examine women's pathways across intersectional distinctions and test risk/needs assessments for predictive validity across gender and race.
2019 - University Research/Creative Projects Award, Wichita State University: $4,500
2018 - President's Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, University of Nevada, Las Vegas: $25,000
2018 - Summer Doctoral Research Fellowship, University of Nevada, Las Vegas: $7,000
2018 - Research Funding Sponsorship, University of Nevada, Las Vegas: $600
Boppre, B. (2019). Improving Correctional Strategies for Women at the Margins: Recommendations for an Intersectionally-Responsive Approach. Corrections: Policy, Practice, and Research, 4, 195-221.
Boppre, B., & Boyer, C. (In press). “The Traps Started during my Childhood”: The Role of Substance Abuse in Women’s Responses to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma.
Boppre, B., & Harmon, M. G. (2017). The Unintended Consequences of Sentencing Reforms: Using Social Chain Theory to Examine Racial Disparities in Female Imprisonment. The Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 15, 394-423.
Boppre, B., Miethe, T. D., Troshynski, E. I., & Salisbury, E. J. (In press). Cross-National Differences in Women’s Imprisonment Rates: Exploring the Conditional Effects of Gender Inequality and Other Macro-Level Factors. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice.
Harmon, M. G., & Boppre, B. (2016). Women of Color and the War on Crime: An Explanation for the Rise in Female Black Imprisonment. The Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 16, 1-24.
Boppre, B. Intersectionality in Correctional Contexts: Implications for Women under Correctional Supervision. (In press). In C. M. Coates & M. Walker-Pickett, (Eds.), Women and Minorities in Criminal Justice: An Intersectionality Approach. Dubuque, IA: Kedall Hunt.
Salisbury, E. J., Kalantry, S., Boppre, B., Brundige, E., & Martínez, S. (2018). Expanding the Feminist Pathways Perspective Beyond the United States: A Profile of Federal Women Prisoners in Argentina. Women & Criminal Justice, 28, 125-151.
Reed, S., & Boppre, B. (In press). Considering Boys and Men in the Feminist Pathways Perspective. In L. Carter, C. Blankenship, and C. Marcum (Eds.), Punishing Gender Past and Present: Examining the Criminal Justice System Across Gendered Experiences. San Diego, CA: Cognella.
Kelly, B., & Boppre, B. (2019). Criminal Risk Assessment, Gender-Responsive. In R. Morgan (Ed.), The Sage Encyclopedia of Criminal Psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Boppre, B., Salisbury, E. J., & Parker, J. (2018). Pathways to Crime. In H. Pontell and K. Holtfreter (Eds.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Salisbury, E. J., Boppre, B., & Kelly, B. (2016). Gender-Responsive Risk and Need Assessment: Implications for the Treatment of Justice-Involved Women. In F. Taxman (Ed.), Division on Corrections and Sentencing, Volume 1, Handbook on Risk and Need Assessment: Theory and Practice (p. 220-243). London: Taylor and Francis/Routledge
Boppre, B., & Salisbury, E. J. (2016). The Women’s Risk Needs Assessment (WRNA): Putting Gender at the Forefront of Actuarial Risk Assessment. Blog. Penal Reform International.
Evidence-Based Practices in Corrections: Implementation and Evaluation
I was a graduate research assistant under Drs. Jody Sundt (University of North Texas) and Emily Salisbury (University of Utah) on a Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) grant. We used mixed methods (survey and focus groups) to assess agencies’ abilities to implement evidence-based practices in Oregon. My colleagues and I since published two articles from this project. As a whole, the project revealed the importance of using implementation science to ensure fidelity and sustainability of evidence-based practices. We used Fixsen and colleagues' (2015) National Implementation Research Network resources and implemapping guide to apply their work to the field of corrections (see figure below).
My work on the BJA grant was pivotal towards cultivating partnerships with correctional agencies in the field. Soon after moving to Wichita, I became a co-investigator with Dr. Delores Craig-Moreland for an ongoing evaluation project with Sedgwick County Division of Corrections. This project ensures Sedgwick County uses evidence-based practices with high treatment fidelity. Thus far, I've helped with evaluations of Adult Intensive Supervision, Drug Court, and juvenile supervision for girls. I was nominated for a university award Excellence in Community Research due to my involvement with the Wichita community.
2012 - 2014 - Bureau of Justice Assistance "Smart Probation" Grant
2019 - 2020 - Sedgwick County Division of Corrections: $38,175
2018 - 2019 - Sedgwick County Division of Corrections: $36,357
Boppre, B., Sundt, J., & Salisbury, E. J. (2018). The Limitations and Strengths of the Evidence-Based Practice Attitude Scale (EBPAS) as a Measure of Correctional Employees’ Attitudes: A Psychometric Evaluation. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 62, 3947-3964.
Salisbury, E. J., Sundt, J., & Boppre, B. (2019). Mapping the Implementation Landscape: Assessing the Systematic Capacity of Statewide Community Corrections Agencies to Deliver Evidence-Based Practices. Corrections: Policy, Practice, and Research, 4, 19-38.
Critical Perspectives on Criminal Labeling
Terms like "offender," "inmate," or "felon" are common among the public, scholars, journalists, and criminal justice practitioners. However, such labels may have adverse consequences. How we refer to individuals under correctional supervision sets the tone for how individuals are viewed and treated by others. My recent research stemming from my dissertation (see above) critically examines the impacts of such labels from the perspectives of those directly impacted. Using a gendered and intersectional lens, Shon Reed (Doctoral Student, University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and I assess the impacts of criminal labels. Through interview and focus group responses, four major themes emerged: stigmatization, internalization, dehumanization, and barriers to employment.
Here is a quote by participant Chloe (pseudonym):
"It feels like [the correctional system] is taking who you are away and giving you this label that's not necessarily you. It's what you're doing, maybe. It's your acts, but it doesn't mean that that's who you are as a person. And it's hard to separate those two things."
In light of the potential negative impacts, I recommend the use of person-centered language as an alternative. These suggestions for alternatives were derived from ongoing dialogue with women and men who were formerly incarcerated. I'd like to thank my mentor Dr. Emily Salisbury for starting these conversations at the FreeHer conference in in September 2018. Here is a list of alternatives from the white paper I wrote with Dr. Avon Hart-Johnson for the Prisoner's Family Conference:
See dissertation funding above
Boppre, B. & Reed, S. “I’m not a number, I’m a human being:” A Phenomenological Study of Women’s Responses to Criminal Labeling. (Under review, Feminist Criminology)
Boppre, B., & Hart-Johnson, A. (2019). Using Person-Centered Language to Humanize Those Impacted by the Legal System. Dallas, TX: Prisoner’s Family Conference Advocacy in Action Coalition.
The Impacts of Incarceration on Families
I am beginning a new research area to assess the impacts of incarceration on families. Incarceration impacted those beyond the 2.2 million individuals serving their sentences in prison. Families are also affected through a process called secondary prisonization. Examining such effects is important as a growing number of families in the U.S. are impacted. Recent studies estimate 45% of the U.S. population has had an immediate family member incarcerated.
Currently, I am analyzing interview data collected by Drs. Dana DeHart and Cheri Shaprio (University of South Carolina) with incarcerated persons and their loved ones about their experiences with visitation. Such experiences are largely unknown to the general public.
I am also starting a new mixed methods study to assess the impacts of having a family member incarcerated during the COVID-19 pandemic with Dr. Meghan Novisky (Cleveland State University).
Participatory Action Research with System-Impacted Youth
Photovoice is a participatory action research method that engages youth through interactive photography and focus group sessions. Spring 2019, I partnered with my colleague Dr. Dasha Shamrova in the School of Social work on a Multidiciplinary Research project funded by Wichita State University. Together, we conducted a Photovoice study to examine how an alternative education program for expelled students works and helps students with academic and behavioral outcomes. We organized a Photovoice exhibit last May at the Rhatigan Student Center for stakeholders, community members, and the students involved in the project.
The full exhibit guide can be found here. Students' chosen photos were coupled with compiled narratives from the focus groups. My colleagues and I are currently preparing the results in manuscript format for submission.
2019 - Multidisciplinary Research Project Award, Wichita State University: $7,500
Boppre, B., Shamrova, D., & Kalb, A. Giving At-Risk Youth a Voice: Results from a Photovoice Study with an Alternative Education Program. (Writing phase).
The Unintended Impacts of Deterrence-Based Policies
Many states across the U.S. have adopted deterrence-based policies aimed to reduce crime and recidivism through the threat of imprisonment. However, prior research indicates mixed support for the effectiveness of deterrence. My recent research using secondary data examines the impacts of deterrence-based policies (i.e., mandatory minimum sentences in Oregon, graduated sanctions in Kansas) to determine whether these approaches work as intended. Overall, the results suggest unintended and even adverse effects of these laws.
Sundt, J., & Boppre, B. Did Oregon’s Tough Mandatory Sentencing Law “Measure 11” Improve Public Safety? New Evidence About an Old Debate from a Multiple-Design, Experimental Strategy. (Revision submitted, Justice Quarterly)
Browne, G. E., Melander, L., Boppre, B. & Edwards, M. E. The Gendered Effects of a Graduated Sanctions Model on Probation Outcomes in Kansas. (Under review, Criminal Justice Policy Review)
Victim and Execution Impact Statements
Impact statements are controversial because they represent extra-legal factors that can sway jurors' verdicts. The emotional nature of impact statements may impede jurors' abilities to impartially weigh aggravating and mitigating factors. For my undergraduate honors thesis, advised by Dr. Monica Miller (University of Nevada, Reno), I conducted survey research with student mock jurors to determine how victim and execution impact statements impact sentencing decisions. Overall, the impact statements influenced emotions, but not verdicts. My future research seeks to use more realistic experimental methods to test the emotional influence they may have on mock jurors (video vs. written testimony).
2015 - Grants-in-Aid Funding Award, American Psychology-Law Society: $750
2010 - General Undergraduate Research Award, University of Nevada, Reno: $1,200
West, M. P., Boppre, B., Miller, M. K., & Barchard, K. (2019). The Effects of Impact Statements on Jurors’ Decisions and Perceptions of the Victim and Defendant. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 15, 185-200.
Boppre, B., & Miller, M. K. (2014). How Victim and Execution Impact Statements Affect Mock Jurors’ Perceptions, Emotions, and Verdicts. Victims & Offenders, 9, 413-435.