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Areas of Expertise: My research examines women and youth system-involvement, sentencing policies, the carceral system, and the impacts of incarceration on families. I use both quantitative and qualitative methods, with an emphasis on mixed methods. Often, the needs of those impacted by the legal system are "out of sight, out of mind." By using qualitative feminist and participatory action methods, I work collaboratively with families and clients to develop actionable policy recommendations. 

To date, I published 17 peer-reviewed journal articles (three forthcoming) in outlets such as Justice Quarterly, Criminal Justice and Behavior, Feminist Criminology, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Corrections: Policy, Practice, and Research​. I have been involved with several externally and internally funded research projects. I conduct research with multiple agencies in the community. I help agencies implement and evaluate their practices with an emphasis on gender-responsive strategies.


Labeling and Stigma

The punitive nature of the criminal legal system tends to strip away persons' identities and dehumanize. My research seeks to examine the imapcts of such tactics on people system-involved and their families. Thus far, I published an article in Feminist Criminology  with Shon Reed using data from my dissertation. I am looking forward to further expand my research in this area. 

See also: Person-Centered Language White Paper: Prisoner's Family Conference Advocacy in Action Coalition
Image by Marco Chilese

Incarceration and Families 

My current research also examines the impacts of incarceration on families. In our recently accepted article at Criminal Justice and Behavior, Dana DeHart, Cheri Shaprio and I explored prison visistation from the perspectives of those directly impacted (incarcerated people and family members) in a southeastern state. 


As P-I with co-investigator Dr. Meghan Novisky, we are in the data analysis phase of a mixed methods study to assess the impacts of having a family member incarcerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Initial results will be presented at the 2021 American Society of Criminology conference. 

System-Involvement and Carceral Spaces through an Intersectional Lens

My ongoing research assesses how gender, race, and multimarg shape inviduals' pathways into system-involvement and their experiences under correctional supervision. Together, Cassandra and Boyer examined women's experiences in the Oregon criminal legal system through interviews and focus groups. We often discuss harsher outcomes among BIWOC in the CL system, but neglect the preferential treatment and leniency experienced by White women, reflecting gendered racial privilege.


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Expanding on my early doctoral research, Susana Avalos, doctoral student at ODU, and I are examining how the U.S. carceral system supervises and treats LGBTQ+ clients. We seek to address homophobia and transphobia to develop support for trans individuals who are neglected in binary correctional policies and practices. Together, we are working on a book chapter and a manuscript for review. 

Dr. Dasha Shamrova and I have led two photovoice projects with youth in Sedgwick County, KS. In Spring 2019, we partnered with an alternative education program to explore youth' experiences in the program and their recommendations for change. The exhibit Alternative Path was held at Wichita State University in May 2019 and was well-attended by youth participants who spoke and by community stakeholders. In Fall 2020, we partnered with a local urban community organization to explore how to prevent youth involvement in the juvenile justice system. We specifically wanted to understand potential solutions from the perspectives of youth. The exhibit Silent Voices was held virtually during a community summit. Both exhibits were named and developed by youth participants. 


Photovoice with Youth 

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