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Dan Mears

Mears' current research has identified ways in which community conditions influence sentencing decisions; variation in the theoretical justification, uses, and impacts of supermax prisons; the recidivism-reducing effects of inmate visitation; differences among practitioners in their views about the need for and effectiveness of a range of juvenile justice reforms; and social and demographic divides in public views toward a range of criminal justice policies.

Dan Mears

Mark C. Stafford Professor of Criminology
314C Eppes Hall


Ph.D. 1998, University of Texas at Austin; Sociology
M.A. 1995, University of Texas at Austin; Sociology
B.A. 1988 Haverford College; Sociology

Courses Taught

  • Corrections
  • Crime Policy Evaluation
  • Criminal Justice and Public Policy
  • Juvenile Justice Policy and Practice
  • Juvenile Justice System
  • Prisoner Reentry

Research Interests

  • Juvenile and criminal justice policy
  • Crime theory
  • Public opinion
  • Supermax prisons
  • Mental health
  • Religion
  • Sentencing
  • Reentry

Select Publications

  • Mears, Daniel P., Joshua C. Cochran, Brian J. Stults, Sarah J. Greenman, Avinash S. Bhati, and Mark A. Greenwald. Forthcoming. “The ‘True’ Juvenile Offender: Age Effects and Juvenile Court Sanctioning.” Criminology (forthcoming).
  • Mears, Daniel P. 2013. “Supermax Prisons: The Policy and the Evidence.” Criminology and Public Policy 12(4):681-719.
  • Mears, Daniel P., Joshua C. Cochran, and Kevin M. Beaver. Forthcoming. “Self-Control Theory and Nonlinear Effects on Offending.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology (forthcoming).
  • Mears, Daniel P., Justin Pickett, Kristin Golden, Ted Chiricos, and Marc Gertz. Forthcoming. “The Effect of Interracial Contact on Whites’ Perceptions of Victimization Risk and Black Criminality.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency (forthcoming).
  • Mears, Daniel P., Xia Wang, and William D. Bales. Forthcoming. “Does a Rising Tide Lift All Boats? Labor Market Changes and Their Effects on the Recidivism of Released Prisoners.” Justice Quarterly (forthcoming).
  • Mears, Daniel P. 2010. American Criminal Justice Policy: An Evaluation Approach to Increasing Accountability and Effictiveness. New York: Cambridge Univeristy Press. Winner of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ Outstanding Book Award.
  • Mears, Daniel P., and Eric A. Stewart. 2010. “Interracial Contact and Fear of Crime.” Journal of Criminal Justice 38(1):34-41.
  • Wang, Xia, and Daniel P. Mears. 2010. “Examining the Direct and Interactive Effects of Changes in Racial and Ethnic Threat on Sentencing Decisions.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 47(4):522-557.
  • Mears, Daniel P., and William D. Bales. 2009. “Supermax Incarceration and Recidivism.” Criminology 47(4):801-836.
  • Mears, Daniel P., Christina Mancini, and Eric A. Stewart. 2009. “Whites' Concern about Crime: The Effects of Interracial Contact.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 46(4):524-552.
  • Mears, Daniel P., Xia Wang, Carter Hay, and William D. Bales. 2008. “Social Ecology and Recidivism: Implications for Prisoner Reentry.” Criminology 46(2):301-340.
  • Bales, William D., and Daniel P. Mears. 2008. “Inmate Social Ties and the Transition to Society: Does Visitation Reduce Recidivism?” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 45(3):287-321.
  • Mears, Daniel P., Carter Hay, Marc Gertz, and Christina Mancini. 2007. “Public Opinion and the Foundation of the Juvenile Court.” Criminology 45(1):223-258.
  • Mears, Daniel P., Michelle L. Scott, and Avinash S. Bhati. 2007. “Opportunity Theory and Agricultural Crime Victimization.” Rural Sociology 72(2):151-184.
  • Mears, Daniel P., and Avinash S. Bhati. 2006. “No Community Is an Island: The Effects of Resource Deprivation on Urban Violence in Spatially and Socially Proximate Communities.” Criminology 44(3):509-548.
  • Mears, Daniel P., and Jamie Watson. 2006. “Towards a Fair and Balanced Assessment of Supermax Prisons.” Justice Quarterly 23(2):232-270.

Select Recent Grants

  • Monitoring and Assessing the Effectiveness of Juvenile Justice Sanctions. Principal Investigators: Daniel P. Mears and Avinash S. Bhati. Sponsor: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention ($275,842), 2010-2012.
  • Financial Exploitation of the Elderly in a Consumer Context. Principal Investigators: Kristy Holtfreter, Michael D. Reisig, and Daniel P. Mears. Sponsor: National Institute of Justice ($393,174), 2011-2012.
  • The Past, Present, and Future of Juvenile Justice: Assessing the Policy Options. Principal Investigators: Daniel P. Mears, Jeffrey A. Butts (University of Chicago), and Christy A. Visher (The Urban Institute). Sponsor: National Institute of Justice ($258,068), 2005-2010.
  • Florida Department of Corrections Public Opinion Survey. Principal Investigator. Sponsor: Florida Department of Corrections ($23,068), 2005-2006.
  • An Evaluation of the ACTION Agricultural Crime Prevention Initiative. Principal Investigator. Sponsor: National Institute of Justice ($447,040), 2004-2007.