Case Support

Academic Professionals and Researchers

The following noted people are experts in the field of mass incarceration and/or parental incarceration.  Their areas of specialization vary, but each contribute important information to the study of how incarceration impacts children and families. The list is in alphabetical order by surname.


J. Mark Eddy

J. Mark Eddy is a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education within the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. As a prevention scientist, he develops and rigorously tests prevention and intervention programs intended to benefit children and families, and particularly those who are living in stressful circumstances. His recent work centers on the conduct of randomized controlled trials of multimodal interventions in partnership with school systems, the juvenile justice system, the adult corrections system, the child welfare system, and the military, as well as with nonprofits that work with these and related systems. His research has focused on communities in the U.S. and in Central America. Eddy is a licensed psychologist. For an online list of his publications, click here and for a publicly posted curriculum vitae (CV) with a more extensive list of his publications, click here.

Tags: parenting, parental incarceration, child well-being

Dr. Alexes Harris

Alexes Harris is a sociologist who uses a mixed-method approach to study institutional decision-making.  My research interests focus on social stratification processes and racial and ethnic disparities.  I investigate how contact with varying institutions (educational, juvenile and criminal justice and economic) impact individuals’ life chances.  Frequently, my work combines data types in order to illustrate both the macro context of the problem at hand, and at the same time investigate the micro processes leading to outcomes.  Using participant observation, interview, and statistical methods my work has investigated how institutional actors assess, label, and process individuals and groups, and how those processed respond.  My aim is to produce research that is theoretically informed and empirically rich, and research that is of value in local, state, and national policy arenas.  For an online list of her publications, click here.

Tags: Race, mass incarceration, opportunity


Dr. Marian Harris

Marian S. Harris, Ph.D., ACSW, LICSW is a Professor at the University of Washington Tacoma, Social Work and Criminal Justice Program and Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Washington, School of Social Work, Seattle. Dr. Harris is a Faculty Associate at the Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor and Research Advisor for the Smith College School of Social Work, Northampton, MA. She is a former Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work. Dr. Harris was awarded an NIMH Postdoctoral Fellowship and completed a two year postdoctoral training program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Social Work. She received her Ph.D. from the Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, MA.

Her research and publications have focused primarily on issues of mothers who have children in the child welfare system including substance abuse problem severity, attachment typology, parental stress, child maltreatment, extended family support, race and family structure, and the over-representation of children of color in the child welfare system, especially African American children.   For an online list of her publications, click here.

Tags: Race, child well-being, parenting capacity, parenting education, parental incarceration, child welfare practices


Dr. Ashley Nellis

Dr. Ashley Nellis is Senior Research Analyst with The Sentencing Project.  She has an academic and professional background in analyzing criminal justice policies and practice, and has extensive experience in analyzing racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system. She regularly delivers testimony, writes articles and reports, and conducts research in the areas of juvenile and criminal justice. Her work is particularly concerned with elevating awareness about the growing number of individuals serving lengthy sentences in prison such as life sentences and sentences of life without parole (LWOP).  She received her Ph.D. in Justice, Law and Society from American University’s School of Public Affairs. For an online list of her publications, click here.

Tags: Mass incarceration, Racial disparity in incarceration, juvenile criminal court sentencing


Dr. Julie Poehlmann-Tynan

Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, PhD, is the Dorothy A. O’Brien Professor of Human Ecology and a professor in the human development and family studies department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is an affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty and the Center for Healthy Minds.   Dr. Poehlmann-Tynan has 2 lines of research: (1) children with incarcerated parents, and (2) preterm infants. She recently completed a 6-year longitudinal study of preterm infants that was funded by NICHD that examined early parent-infant interactions and emerging self-regulation skills on children’s social, behavioral, and academic outcomes. Dr. Poehlmann-Tynan is also in the middle of 2 studies examining young children of jailed parents.Dr. Poehlmann-Tynan has served as an advisor to Sesame Street to help develop and evaluate their Emmy-nominated initiative for young children with incarcerated parents and their families called Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration.   For an online list of her publications, click here.

Tags:  Impact of parental incarceration on children, infant & child development


Dr. Joseph P. Ryan

Joe Ryan’s research and teaching at the University of Michigan build upon his direct clinical  experiences with children in child welfare and juvenile criminal courts.    Dr. Ryan is the Co-Director of the Child and Adolescent Data Lab an applied research center focused on using data to drive policy and practice decisions in the field. He is currently involved with several studies including a randomized clinical trial of recovery coaches for substance abusing parents in Illinois (AODA Demonstration) , a foster care placement prevention study for young children in Michigan (MI Family Demonstration), a Pay for Success (social impact bonds) study focused on high risk adolescents involved with the Illinois child welfare and juvenile justice system and a study of the educational experiences of youth in foster care (Kellogg Foundation Education and Equity). For an online list of his publications, click here.

Tags: Children in foster care, Children in Juvenile Court, Dual-systems involved children and youth 


Dr. Melinda Tasca

Melinda Tasca is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Sam Houston State University. Her research centers on correctional policy, the consequences of incarceration, as well as race/ethnicity, gender and crime. Her recent work has appeared in Criminal Justice and Behavior, the Journal of Interpersonal Violence and the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. As reflected in her scholarly work, Dr. Tasca has expertise in mixed-methods as well as extensive experience studying vulnerable family systems. Currently, she is co-principal investigator of the Arizona Prison Visitation Project (APVP), a mixed-method study aimed at advancing knowledge on prison visitation and its effects on recidivism, misconduct and self-harm. Dr. Tasca’s work has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and Sam Houston State University’s Enhancement Research Grant Program.  For an online list of her publications, click here.

Tags: Correctional policy, Collateral consequences of incarceration; Disparities in punishment; Race/ethnicity, gender


Dr. Michael Mueller-Smith

Mike Mueller-Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Michigan and Faculty Associate at the Population Studies Center. His research focuses on measuring the scope and prevalence of the criminal justice system in the U.S. as well as its broadly defined impact on the population. He is the Director of the Criminal Justice Administrative Records System (CJARS), a new data infrastructure project joint with the U.S. Census Bureau that seeks to collect and link extensive amounts of criminal justice microdata with social and economic data held at the Census Bureau.

Tags: Correctional policy, Collateral consequences of incarceration, Impact of parental incarceration and/or systems involvement on child outcomes, Race, Ethnicity, Gender


Dr. Kristin Turney

Kristin Turney is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine.   Much of Turney’s current research examines the consequences of criminal court involvement on family life, particularly the impact of incarceration on the well-being of children and families over time. She is conducting research to specifically examine the impact of incarceration in jails on family life.  She also evaluates social circumstances that foster resilience among children experiencing parental incarceration. She is currently working on a book-length manuscript, “What Doing Time Does to Families: Incarceration and Family Life in the United States.”  For an online list of her publications, click here.

Tags:  Incarceration & Family life, Jails


Dr. Christopher Wildeman

His research and teaching interests revolve around the consequences of mass imprisonment for inequality, with emphasis on families, health, and children. He is also interested in child welfare, especially as relates to child maltreatment and the foster care system. He is the 2013 recipient of the Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology.  For an online list of his publications, click here.

Tags: Consequences of mass imprisonment for families, health and wellbeing of children.