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Erin M. Kerrison

Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor Erin M. Kerrison's work extends from a legal epidemiological framework, wherein law and legal institutions operate as social determinants of health. Specifically, through varied agency partnerships, her mixed-method research agenda investigates the impact that compounded structural disadvantage, concentrated poverty and state supervision has on service delivery, substance abuse, violence and other health outcomes for individuals and communities marked by criminal justice intervention.

Dr. Kerrison's research has been supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the National Institute of Justice, the Ford Foundation and the Sunshine Lady Foundation. Her recent empirical research has been published in Criminal Justice and Behavior, Women and Criminal Justice, the Journal of Developmental and Life Course Criminology and the Harvard Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice Her current book project is tentatively titled, Hustles and Hurdles: Law’s Impact on Desistance for Job-Seeking Former Prisoners, and foregrounds life history narratives for a sample of 300 drug-involved former prisoners. Their stories are analyzed through critical race and intersectional theoretical lenses, and local reentry conditions are contextualized by contemporary "collateral consequences" legislation that further undermine employment seeking outcomes within a contracted Rust Belt labor market. This study demonstrates how law, labor markets, neighborhoods, criminal justice surveillance and substance abuse patterns are compounded and steer long-term desistance and health outcomes.

Dr. Kerrison holds a BA in Sociology and Philosophy from Haverford College, an MA in Criminology, Law and Society from Villanova University and a PhD in Criminology from the University of Delaware. She was awarded a Vice Provost's Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also an active member of the American Society of Criminology, the Law & Society Association and the Society for Social Work and Research.

Research/Expertise

  • Criminal Justice Organization and Policy
  • Legal Consciousness Among Underserved Community Members
  • Legal Epidemiology
  • Privatization of Healthcare and Supervision in Underserved Communities
  • Risk/Needs Assessments
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Modalities
  • Trauma and Offending

Expanded Publications

Bachman, R., Kerrison, E. M., Paternoster, R., Smith, L., & O’Connell, D. (2016). The complex relationship between motherhood and desistance. Women and Criminal Justice, 26(3), 212–231.

Bachman, R., Kerrison, E., Paternoster, R., O’Connell, D., & Smith, L. (2016). Desistance for a long-term drug involved sample of adult offenders: The importance of identity transformation. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 43(2), 164–186.

Kerrison, E. M., & Bachman, R. (2016). Second-chance grandparenting: How a new and renewed identity impacts the desistance process. In S. F. Sharp, S. Marcus-Mendoza, K. A. Cameron, & E. S. Daniel-Roberson (Eds.), Across the Spectrum of Women and Crime: Theories, Offending, and the Criminal Justice System (pp. 225–242). Durham, NC.

Kerrison, E. M. (2015). White claims to illness and the race-based medicalization of addiction for drug-involved former prisoners. Harvard Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice, 31, 105–128.

Kerrison, E. M., Bachman, R., & Alvarez, A. (2015). The societal causes of violence. In P. T. Clements, S. Seedat, & E. N. Gibbings (Eds.), Mental Health Issues of Child Maltreatment (pp. 123–150). St. Louis, MO: STM Learning, Inc.

Paternoster, R., Bachman, R., Bushway, S., Kerrison, E., & O’Connell, D. (2015). Human agency and explanations of criminal desistance: Arguments for a rational choice theory. Journal of Developmental and Life Course Criminology, 1(3), 20–235.