Erin Kerrison

Assistant Professor of Social Welfare, University of California at Berkeley

Areas of Expertise

  • Black Feminist Praxis
  • Data science for social good
  • Carceral abolition and safety for all
  • Legal epidemiology 
  • Health and healthcare inequity
  • U.S. criminal legal system 
  • Violence intervention

Key Findings

  • Innate biases of parole officers in halfway house settings often negatively impact female residents, who are seeking to develop their own authentic sense of self-concept, which may be nontraditional and therefore out of line with parole officer expectations. MORE
  • Prosocial roles like employment and marriage are important factors in maintaining an individual’s new non-offender identity. MORE
  • Black Respectability Politics is a concept that looks at ascribed social norms for behavior in public and private spaces, which often disadvantage black youth as these norms are deeply racialized, gendered, and class-based. MORE
  • There were no racial disparities in police susceptibility from negative stereotype perceptions. MORE
  • Officer race was not shown to be associated with self-legitimacy or in interactions between stereotype susceptibility and self-legitimacy. MORE
  • Age and time spent in the industry had an impact on police self-legitimacy. MORE
  • To combat police fear and suspicion of researchers, the Center for Policing Equity utilized former police officers to serve as outreach partners to police departments to share the benefits of participating in policing research. MORE
  • To ethically proceed with data collection on police departments, it is important to have the buy-in and consent of labor unions and patrol forces as early and as transparently as possible. MORE


Erin Kerrison, Assistant Professor of Social Welfare at the University of California at Berkeley, is an expert in the impact of structural disadvantage, concentrated poverty, and state supervision on service delivery, substance misuse, violence and other health outcomes for individuals and communities marked by criminal legal system intervention.  

Kerrison’s research has been supported by a number of funding sources, including Arnold Ventures, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Science Foundation.  Her recent empirical research has been published in Health Services Research, Law and Human Behavior, PNAS, Punishment & Society, and Social Science & Medicine.  She has delivered state and federal congressional briefings on this work and regularly consults with local, statewide, and nationwide organizations and agencies, on issues related to Black health and ending state violence. She was also awarded a Vice Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania and serves as an active participant in the American Society of Criminology, the Law & Society Association, and the Society for Social Work and Research communities.

She has been published in numerous academic journals, including Women and Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice and Behavior and Harvard Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice.

Kerrison received her Ph.D. in Criminology from the University of Delaware, M.A. in Criminology, Law and Society from Villanova University and B.A. in Sociology and Philosophy from Haverford College.