Montaigne Medal award for “most thought-provoking” book
Foreword INDIES 2020 Book of the Year Award (Silver, Political & Social Sciences)
First Horizon Award for “superior writing” by a “debut author”
Paperback now available!


I spend my time exploring the complex intersections of crime, policy and the legal system.  I get to think, talk, and write about justice and injustice every single day. I love my job.

My research focuses on four main areas: wrongful convictions, severe sentences such as the death penalty and life without parole, prisoner re-entry and hate crimes.  My research interests reflect these central beliefs:

  • Innocent people are wrongly convicted of all kinds of crimes more often than we could ever imagine. Way. More. Often.

  • The criminal justice system unfairly targets poor people and people of color.  It has created an entire caste of people who are permanent social outcasts because they have been branded “criminals” and saddled with criminal records.

  • Sentencing policies are way too severe, and result in people being punished more harshly than is needed to meet any legitimate goal.

  • All people, including convicted criminals, are more than the worst thing they have ever done.

Photo by Judith Waitz

I was honored to be named the 2022 Montclair State University Distinguished Scholar, an award given to one faculty member each year in recognition of outstanding research and scholarship. I now have the opportunity to spend Spring of 2023 working on a research project. I am truly grateful.


Book Chapters

2012  Death in Prison Sentences: Overutilized and Underscrutinized. In Sarat, A. and Ogletree,C. (eds.) Life Without Parole (New York University Press: New York).

2009  Hate Crime Laws: A Critical Assessment. In Perry, B. and Levin, B.(eds.) Hate Crimes: Perspectives and Approaches (Greenwood Publishing Group: Connecticut).

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