Political Science and Criminal Justice

Sarah Smith, PhD

Sarah M. Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice. She has a Ph.D. in Criminology, Law & 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 a research corporation between her degrees.

Much of her research investigates how criminological theory is embodied in criminal justice practices. She focuses on gender, race, and crime; corrections and alternative approaches to justice, such as restorative justice; and criminological theory, specifically justice theory. Her Master of Arts thesis involved primarily non-participant observation of a restorative justice program in Manassas, Virginia and her dissertation is a study of imprisoned women’s perceptions of justice regarding their interactions with criminal justice processes. This larger project focused specifically on the internal prison grievance system, the legal avenue prisoners must use to contest their conditions of confinement. Inmates must be denied at all levels of the prison system before bringing a case to court.

Professor Smith has experience teaching a wide range of courses, including corrections, gender and crime, criminology, methods, deviance, and policing. At California State University, Chico, she teaches upper level courses such as justice theory and practices, methods, and senior seminar in criminal justice, and lower level courses such as juvenile justice. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and traveling, preferring the most scenic or unusual routes.
Portrait of Sarah Smith, PhD