Kelly Welch

Professor of Sociology and Criminology, Villanova University

Areas of Expertise

  • Racial stereotypes
  • Ethnic stereotypes
  • Criminal profiling
  • School punishment
  • School-to-prison pipeline
  • Public punitiveness

Key Findings

  • Schools with larger percentages of Latino/a students are more likely to utilize punitive punishments. MORE
  • Schools with larger percentages of Latino/a students were also less likely to use mild disciplinary practices. MORE
  • Schools with larger proportions of black students were more likely to use punitive disciplinary measures. MORE
  • Schools with larger proportions of black students  were also more likely to implement zero tolerance policies. MORE
  • An individual’s awareness of crime does not increase that individual’s support for harsh punishments for juvenile offenders. MORE
  • Those who have a lower perception of crime are more likely to support rehabilitative measures for both juvenile and adult offenders. MORE
  • Individuals who typify criminals as disproportionately Hispanic were more likely to support punitive crime control policies. MORE
  • The common association of those perceived to be Arabs, Muslims, Middle Easterners, and others with terrorism can spur public support for policy initiatives above and beyond the effects of prejudice and terror salience. MORE
  • The prevalent typification of Blacks as criminals seems to justify law enforcement tactics that exploit race in criminal investigations. MORE


Kelly Welch, Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Villanova University, is an expert in racial and ethnic stereotypes, criminal and terrorist profiling according to race and ethnicity, racial and ethnic disparities in school punishment and student discipline, the school-to-prison pipeline and public punitiveness.

Welch has served as an expert witness in two federal trials – one as an expert for the U.S. Department of Justice in a case involving racial discrimination and school discipline and one as an expert in a federal lawsuit about racial and religious discrimination in prison. She has also given expert testimony on behalf of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding school discipline in the state of Pennsylvania. She serves as an editorial board member of Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice: An Interdisciplinary Journal and is an active member of the American Society of Criminology Division of Terrorism and Bias Crimes.

She has published chapters in numerous books and as well as articles in journals such as Criminology, Crime and Delinquency,Social Problems, andYouth Violence & Juvenile Justice.

Welch earned her Ph.D. and M.S. in Criminology from Florida State University and her B.A. in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine.