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.

Research Interests

Juvenile and Criminal Justice Policy | Crime Theory | Public Opinion | Supermax Prisons | Mental Health | Religion | Sentencing | Re-entry


Ph.D. 1998, University of Texas at Austin; Sociology

M.A. 1995, University of Texas at Austin; Sociology

B.A. 1988, Haverford College; Sociology


The Impacts of Restrictive Housing on Inmate Misconduct, Mental Health, and Recidivism, and Prison Systems and Personnel. Principal Investigators: Daniel P. Mears and William D. Bales. Sponsor: National Institute of Justice ($730,615), 2017-2019.

The Palm Beach County School Safety and Student Performance Partnership Research Project. Principal Investigators: Daniel P. Mears and Sonja E. Siennick. Sponsor: National Institute of Justice ($981,481), 2015-2018.

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.

Recent Publications

Mears, Daniel P., and Sonja E. Siennick . 2016. “Young Adult Outcomes and the Life-Course Penalties of Parental Incarceration” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 53(1): 3-35.

Mears, Daniel P., Joshua C. Cochran, and Andrea M. Lindsey. 2016. “Offending and Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Criminal Justice: A Conceptual Framework for Guiding Theory and Research and Informing Policy” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 32(1):78-103.

Mears, Daniel P., Samuel J. A. Scaggs, Roshni T. Ladny, Andrea M. Lindsey, and J. W. Andrew Ranson. 2015. “Successful Transitions to Graduate School: Using Orientations to Improve Student Experiences in Criminology and Criminal Justice Programs” Journal of Criminal Justice Education 26(3):283-306.

Pickett, Justin, Christina Mancini, Dan Mears, and Marc Gertz . 2015. “Public (Mis)Understanding of Crime Policy: The Effects of Criminal Justice Experience and Media Reliance” Criminal Justice Policy Review .

Mears, Daniel P., Justin T. Pickett, and Christina Mancini. 2015. “Support for Balanced Juvenile Justice: Assessing Views about Youth, Rehabilitation, and Punishment” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 31(3):459-479.

Selected Publications

Mears, Daniel P., Joshua C. Cochran, Brian J. Stults, Sarah J. Greenman, Avinash S. Bhati, and Mark A. Greenwald. 2014. “The ‘True’ Juvenile Offender: Age Effects and Juvenile Court Sanctioning.” Criminology (forthcoming).

Mears, Daniel P., Joshua Cochran, and Kevin M. Beaver. 2014. “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. 2013. “The Effect of Interracial Contact on Whites’ Perceptions of Victimization Risk and Black Criminality.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 50(2):272-299.

Mears, Daniel P. 2010. American Criminal Justice Policy: An Evaluation Approach to Increasing Accountability and Effectiveness. New York: Cambridge University Press. Winner of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ Outstanding Book Award.