Christy Visher

Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice, University of Delaware

Areas of Expertise

  • Communities and crime
  • Prisoner reentry
  • Crime prevention strategies
  • Incapacitation
  • Drug testing
  • Substance abuse

Key Findings

  • Critically important that the federal government invest in the development and testing of new ideas and rigorous evaluations to determine which interventions are effective at promoting public safety. MORE
  • Fathers who lived with children before incarceration and had regular contact with their children during their incarceration were more likely to be involved with their children after release. MORE
  • Successful reentry requires strong community support networks and comprehensive services, both of which are lacking in urban areas to which most former prisoners return. MORE
  • Long-term criminal justice reforms should focus on restructuring regulations for police union contracts to ensure accountability and changing police culture to prioritize the protection of civilians. MORE


Christy Visher, Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware, is an expert in prisoner reentry, criminal careers, and prison culture and reform.

Visher served as the science advisor to the director, deputy director of research and research associate at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and served as the principal research associate at The Urban Institute. In 2022, she was a member of the National Academies Committee on Evaluating Success among People Released From Prison. She is active in the American Society of Criminology, having served as its vice president. She has received several awards and honors including the most cited female scholar, the Dissertation Fellowship Award from NIJ, and Phi Beta Kappa.

Visher has published dozens of chapters and articles in scholarly journals including Criminology, The Journal of Experimental Criminology and Criminology and Public Policy as well as co-authored the book Prisoner Reentry and Crime in America.

She received her Ph.D. and M.A. from Indiana University and B.A. from Trinity University.