Ashley Nellis

Senior Research Analyst, The Sentencing Project

Areas of Expertise

  • Sentences for juveniles
  • Juvenile justice
  • Life-without-parole
  • Life sentences

Key Findings


Ashley Nellis, Senior Research Analyst at The Sentencing Project, is an expert in life sentences, life-without-parole sentences and incarceration.

Nellis focuses on extreme sentencing policies in the justice system and their consequences on prisoners, families of incarcerated people and American society. She has conducted a series of national investigations into the use of life sentences for adults and produced law review pieces, book chapters and journal articles on the topic. Her work closely tracks youth justice, the role of race and the use of life sentences for juveniles (JLWOP). In 2012, she published results from a national survey of inmates serving such sentences.

She is the author of A Return to Justice: Rethinking our Approach to Juveniles in the System, and her findings from research on lifers has been widely cited.

Follow Ashley on Twitter: @love_justice

Nellis received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Criminal Justice from American University’s School of Public Affairs and B.A. in Criminal Justice from St. Edward’s University.

Get the Latest Research from the Experts