Sarah Esther Lageson

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University

Areas of Expertise

  • Criminal records
  • Access to criminal justice data
  • Background checks
  • Ban the Box
  • Revenge pornography
  • Internet privacy and transparency

Key Findings

  • The lack of a clear framework surrounding public access to criminal data is limits an individual’s personal view on punishment. MORE
  • Experience with crime, either as a victim or perpetrator, also impacts an individual’s opinion on public access to crime data online. MORE
  • Among the 78% of employers who ask about criminal records, the specificity of questions vary depending on the severity and timing of the offense. MORE
  • When applicants are given the opportunity to signal not having a criminal record, there are reduced disparities in employer callbacks due to race. MORE
  • Individuals who have found their criminal histories online felt humiliated in their social circles and have worried about the lasting impact of their records. MORE


Sarah Lageson, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University, is an expert on the criminal justice system, criminal records and background checks, and internet privacy.

Lageson previously served as an Americorps VISTA volunteer for the Minnesota Prisoner Reentry Program and a research coordinator for the Council on Crime and Justice in Minneapolis. In 2007, the National Institutes of Justice recognized her with the New Investigator/Early Career Award in the Social and Behavioral Sciences and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field.

She has been published in numerous journals and has authored two books, “Give Methods a Chance: Interviews with Social Scientists” (W.W. Norton) and “Digital Punishment” (Oxford).

Lageson received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and earned her B.A. in Anthropology and History from Washington University in St. Louis.