Frank T. Wilson

Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Indiana State University

Areas of Expertise

  • Media depictions of crime
  • Mass incarceration
  • Prison history
  • Public perceptions
  • Death penalty
  • Criminal justice policies

Key Findings

  • White officers were most prominently depicted in lead roles in police films 89% of the time in police films from 1971 to 2011. MORE
  • African American officers were depicted in lead roles in police films 19% of the time, which is representative of African American officers nationally. MORE
  • Only 15 films included female officers in a leading role in police films from 1971 to 2011. MORE
  • The key barriers female officers face in the workplace were not addressed in film depictions of female officers. MORE
  • There was only one portrayal of a gay or lesbian police officer in police films from 1971 to 2011. MORE
  • Other portrays of homosexual officers included two negative assumptions of a gay or lesbian officer and two portrayals of police interactions with a member of the LGBTQ community. MORE


Franklin T. Wilson, Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Indiana State University, is an expert in media depictions of law enforcement, crime and victims as well as issues surrounding race, gender and socioeconomic class and mass incarceration.

Wilson also serves as an associated faculty member of African American Studies at Indiana State University. He has worked with the National Institute for Victims Studies, the Texas Counsel on Offenders with Mental and Medical Impairments, the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services and the Texas Prison Museum. He is the Founding Chair of the International Crime, Media and Popular Culture Studies Conference and a member of the Board of Directors for CRIMCAST, an online podcast that centers on current issues in criminal justice.

He has been published in numerous academic journals and is the author of Crime and Media Studies: Diversity of Method, Medium and Communication.

Wilson received his Ph.D. from Sam Houston State University, M.S. from Eastern Kentucky University and B.A. from Ohio University.

Follow Frank on Twitter: @DrFrankWilson