I came to UVM right after finishing my Ph.D. at UC Berkeley in 1994. I also received my Master’s degree in Sociology from Berkeley. While there I worked with David Matza, Troy Duster, and Michael Burawoy, focusing on the study of “deviance” and qualitative research methods. My substantive area of interest currently is prison reform, and my methodology is qualitative research, currently using Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) methods with incarcerated individuals and correctional staff. I have mostly studied intervention programs, such as my dissertation topic, which was about an HIV prevention program for injection drug users. I have long been interested in the application of sociological research for social change.
Currently, I am co-creator of the Justice Research Initiative (JRI) with Professor Abby Crocker from Math/Statistics: https://www.uvm.edu/cas/justice-research-initiative-jri. We recently became part of the Urban Institute Prison Research Innovation Network (PRIN), as the research partners for the Vermont Department of Corrections. In this effort, we (and four other states) will use participatory research methods with incarcerated individuals and correctional staff, to transform prisons in Vermont. For more information about PRIN: https://www.urban.org/policy-centers/justice-policy-center/prison-research-and-innovation-initiative-and-network
JRI is also the research arm of the National Center on Restorative Justice (NCRJ), which is located within Vermont Law School: https://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/centers-and-programs/center-for-justice-reform/national-center-on-restorative-justice and funded by Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Center is a national platform for training and education in making all aspects of the justice system more restorative.
My proudest achievement is the University teaching award I received in 1999 (Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching). At UVM I teach courses at all levels, but in my upper-level seminars, I focus on community-engaged approaches, or sometimes service-learning. My courses address criminal justice, corrections, and punishment. In the past, we have partnered with Department of Corrections to conduct research for them within prisons, and have brought UVM Sociology students into a facility to take classes alongside incarcerated students. This is part of the Liberal Arts in Prison Program, which I direct: https://www.uvm.edu/cas/liberal-arts-prison-program-lapp.
In my spare time, I like to walk with my dog, drink coffee with friends, read, sample dark chocolate, and plan my family’s next adventure. Oh, and chat about criminal justice reform.