Ph.D., John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY Graduate Center
M.A., John Jay College of Criminal Justice
B.A., B.A., Seton Hall University
My fascination with crime and justice began during the late 1990s, when a string of school shootings occurred out West—with Columbine leaving a lasting impression on the nation. During this time, I was just starting college and decided to study the causes of juvenile crime and delinquency. Throughout my undergrad and master's studies, I had opportunities to intern and work within the field of juvenile justice. I spent days hanging out with probation officers as they made home visits; tutored in juvenile facilities young people who had committed everything from status offenses to sex offenses; worked as a residential counselor at a facility for girls with serious mental-health issues; and spent many years interviewing juveniles involved with justice systems in New York City.
Along the way, I worked with adult women as well. In the South Bronx (New York City), I created a pilot re-entry program for women coming home from prison. I had the opportunity to help women access housing, employment and social services. I visited many female facilities throughout New York state to inform women prisoners of the re-entry services available upon their return to the community. It was through this work that I began to study further the needs and barriers that returning women experience.
Prior to joining UB, I worked at the Vera Institute of Justice in the Center on Sentencing and Corrections. Much of Vera's work involves helping states develop and implement criminal justice reform initiatives. I had the opportunity to assist states in this process, and I also worked behind the scenes to evaluate the performance of initiatives once they were put into place.
All of these experiences have upheld my fascination with issues related to incarceration. My research interests are centered around identifying and developing programs to address the needs of prisoners returning to the community; studying the impact incarceration has on individuals, families and communities; and understanding what works in rehabilitating offenders. I am also a strong advocate of alternatives to incarceration, and I love research methods!