Sara Wakefield

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University

Areas of Expertise

  • Family
  • Child wellbeing
  • Social networks of prisoners
  • Life course
  • Race and inequality
  • Mass imprisonment

Key Findings


Sara Wakefield, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University, is an expert in the consequences of mass imprisonment on family, with a focus on racial inequality and child wellbeing; the conditions of confinement and social/family ties during imprisonment and reentry; racial inequality and the criminal justice system.

Wakefield has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Mental Health and is a member of the American Sociological Association, the American Society of Criminology (Life Course Criminology and Sentencing and Corrections Divisions) and the Population Association of America, Law & Society Association. Her book is a co-winner of the 2016 Book Award from the Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility section of the American Sociological Association.

She has been published in numerous academic journals and is the co-author of Children of the Prison Boom: Mass Incarceration and the Future of American Inequality.

Wakefield received her Ph.D. and B.A. in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and M.S. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin.

Follow Sara on Twitter: @wakefield_sara

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