Political Science and Criminal Justice

Sarah Smith, PhD

Sarah M. Smith is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice. She has a Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of California, Irvine. Originally from the East Coast, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the College of William and Mary and a Master of Arts in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology from the George Washington University, working for an employee-owned research corporation between her degrees.

Much of her research investigates how criminological theory is embodied in criminal justice practices and the disparate impacts of policies on different groups. She focuses on gender, race, and crime; corrections and alternative approaches to justice, such as restorative justice; and criminological theory, particularly justice theory. Her Master of Arts thesis studied a restorative justice program in Manassas, Virginia and her dissertation analyzed imprisoned women’s perceptions of justice regarding their interactions with criminal justice processes in California. This larger project focused specifically on the internal prison grievance system, the legal avenue incarcerated people must use to contest their conditions of confinement.

Professor Smith has experience teaching a wide range of undergraduate courses, including: criminology; corrections; policing; gender and crime; deviance; introduction to criminal justice; justice theory and practices; social science methods; social science statistics; and field research. She currently teaches undergraduate courses such as juvenile justice, criminology, and senior seminar, as well as graduate courses such as criminological theory and criminal justice policy. In her free time, she enjoys playing with her pups, hiking, and traveling, preferring the most scenic or unusual routes.

Some of Dr. Smith’s publications include:

Smith, S.M. (2023). Impartiality or individualization? Imprisoned women’s discourses of

(in)justice. Women & Criminal Justice.   https://doi.org/10.1080/08974454.2023.2250767

Portillo, S., Sexton, L., Smith, S.M., Dinsmore, R. ** & Reyes, E.G. ** (2021). Mobilizing justice in sociolegal

research: A mixed-methods meta-analysis. Crime, Law and Social Change.https://rdcu.be/cw4uw


Chamberlain, A.W., Smith, S.M., Turner, S., & Jannetta, J. (2019). GPS monitoring of high-risk sex

offenders: Implementation challenges and lessons learned . Criminal Justice Policy Review. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0887403419884723

Smith, S.M., *** Omori, M. ***, Turner, S. & Jannetta, J. (2012). Assessing the implementation of the Earned Discharge Pilot Project: The importance of context, capacity, and content. Criminology

** Denotes graduate student co-author

*** Denotes equal authorship

Portrait of Sarah Smith, PhD