Daniel Mears

Mark C. Stafford Professor of Criminology, Florida State University

Areas of Expertise

  • Juvenile policy
  • Criminal justice policy
  • Crime theory
  • Public opinion
  • Supermax prisons
  • Mental health
  • Religion
  • Sentencing
  • Reentry
  • Inmate visitation
  • Mass shooting tragedies

Key Findings

  • Criminal justice policies fall well short of achieving the accountability and effectiveness that policymakers have advocated and that the public expects. MORE
  • The findings underscore the nuanced nature of public views about sanctioning youth, the salience of philosophical beliefs to support different sanctioning approaches. MORE
  • It is important to understand the group differences in offending, punishment, and social context. MORE
  • This research study examines how differences in race, ethnicity and gender affect juvenile court sanctioning and rehabilitative interventions. MORE
  • Racial and ethnic disparities are more nuanced than is evident in focusing only on tougher sentencing. MORE
  • Criminal justice policies fall well short of achieving the accountability and effectiveness that policymakers have advocated and that the public expects. MORE
  • Individuals who believed that youth could be reformed and deserved treatment were more likely to support balanced justice or a primarily rehabilitation-oriented approach to sanctioning youth. MORE
  • There was statistically-significant variation in cases across states for Black and White juvenile offenders at all four stages of processes. MORE
  • At the state-level, disproportionate minority contact varied significantly across states for juvenile offenders. MORE
  • Hispanic females and youthful male offenders were less likely to be placed in private prisons than their White counterparts. MORE
  • The data did not show consistent support in predicting private prison placement based on race and ethnicity, age, and violent criminal record. MORE


Daniel Mears, Mark C. Stafford Professor of Criminology at Florida State University, is an expert in sentencing, mass shooting tragedies and prisoner reentry.

Mears served as a senior research associate at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, an adjunct professor at American University’s School of Public Affairs, a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Criminology and Criminal Justice Research, an instructor at Southwestern University, an evaluation research fellow with the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health and a volunteer with the Peace Corps in Micronesia. He was nominated for the University of Texas’s Outstanding Dissertation Award and appointed to the Phi Kappa Phi national honor society.

Mears has been published in journals including Crime and DelinquencyCriminal Justice and Behavior and Criminology. He is the author of American Criminal Justice Policy, which received the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Outstanding Book Award, and co-authored Prisoner Reentry in the Era of Mass Incarceration.

He received his Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin and B.A. in Sociology from Haverford College.