Kelly Socia

Professor of Criminology and Justice Studies, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Areas of Expertise

  • Public perceptions of crime
  • Criminal justice policies
  • Criminal behavior
  • Sex offenders

Key Findings

  • Resident restrictions in New York were found ineffective at incapacitating sex crimes committed against children or adults, likely because they seek to increase the spatial distance between registered sex offenders and victims, who are strangers, whereas most sex crimes occur between acquaintances. MORE
  • Residence restrictions were associated with a general deterrence effect for sex crimes committed against adults but were not associated with decrease arrests for sex crimes committed against child victims. MORE
  • The enactment of moratoriums on medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts was done based on local voter support, not based on demographic characteristics of the municipality as a whole. MORE
  • Naming a law after a victim was shown to increase support for the law and punishment overall compared to unnamed laws. MORE
  • Public support was higher when safe sites were labeled overdose prevention sites than when they were labeled safe injection facilities. MORE


Kelly Socia, Professor of the School of Criminology and Justice Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, is an expert in offender re-entry and recidivism, sex offenders, public policy-making and public perceptions, environmental criminology, and spatial analyses.

Socia has consulted with the National Institute of Justice, the ACLU of Alabama, the ACLU of Florida and the Broward Chapter of the ACLU, and the NY State Alliance of Sex Offender Service Providers. He has received several honors and awards including the Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He is a member of the Sex Offender Policy Working Group, the American Society of Criminology, and the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers.

He has been published in numerous academic journals including Crime and DelinquencyCriminology and Public Policy, and Psychology, Public Policy and Law.

Socia received his Ph.D. and M.A. in Criminal Justice from University at Albany, SUNY, and his B.S. in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Follow Kelly on Twitter: @KellyMSocia