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Meet the Team

The Community Corrections Fines and Fees Project is comprised of a team of experts in  community corrections and criminal justice. Team members are from the University of Cincinnati, Drexel University, Indiana University–Bloomington, the University of Minnesota Law School, the University of Michigan Law School, Northeastern University, and Rutgers University. This project is made possible by a generous grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. The CCFF Project Team is very grateful to the Laura and John Arnold Foundation for their support.

University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice

Ebony Ruhland

Assistant Professor
University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice

Principal Investigator

Email: ruhlaney@ucmail.uc.edu

Ebony Ruhland is an Assistant Professor of Criminology at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Criminal Justice. She is the Principal Investigator for the Community Corrections Fines and Fees Project and will lead a team of co-investigators from multiple universities in a multi-state, mixed-methods study that examines how fines and fees operate in community corrections

(probation and parole) and how fines and fees impact the ability of individuals to succeed on supervision in several U.S. states. Dr. Ruhland is the former Research Director for the University of Minnesota’s Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, leading the Parole Release and Revocation Project and the Probation Revocation Project. She received her Ph.D. from the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota and her M.A. from St. Mary’s University.  She is the author of numerous publications and reports. Her research interests include examining how individuals, families, and communities are impacted by crime and the criminal justice system.

Bryan Holmes

PhD Candidate
University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice

Graduate Assistant

Email: holmesbs@mail.uc.edu 

Bryan Holmes is a doctoral student in the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida and Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati. His research interest revolve around corrections, sentencing, and the intersection between behavior and law. He also co-hosts a podcast on criminal justice research named Criminal Justice Office Hours sponsored by the University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice.

Amber Petkus

Graduate Research Assistant

University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute

Email: mandalar@mail.uc.edu 

Amber is a doctoral student studying Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati. She received both her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University. Amber’s research interests center on correctional practices, policy, and programming; collateral consequences of justice system involvement; family and sexual violence; and child welfare. She is especially interested in these topics within the context of the juvenile justice system and youth populations.  In addition to her educational studies; Amber has worked directly with adult and youth offenders, collaborated extensively with justice system professionals, and brings 6 years of research project and data management experience to this study.

Drexel University

Jordan M. Hyatt

Assistant Professor
Department of Criminology and Justice Studies
Drexel University

Co-Investigator

Email: jmh498@drexel.edu

Jordan M. Hyatt is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology and Justice Studies at Drexel University.  His research examines the role of correctional systems in facilitating or impeding rehabilitation, community safety and meaningful social change. In particular, he is interested in the unique obligations and opportunities presented to at-risk populations, including the collateral consequences of imprisonment and community supervision.  His applied research focuses on the evaluation of incarceration, reentry and community correctional policies through partnerships with a range of community-based and correctional agencies.  In Pennsylvania, Hyatt has worked with large urban and rural community supervision agencies at the adult and juvenile levels, as well as with state- and national- level organizations.

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Indiana University – Bloomington

Miriam Northcutt Bohmert

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
Indiana University Bloomington

Co-Investigator

Email: mirnorth@indiana.edu

Miriam Northcutt Bohmert is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Indiana University Bloomington, and a Co-Investigator on the Community Corrections Fines and Fees Project. Her research focuses on gender and crime, community supervision, transportation and mobility, sexual offenses, and restorative justice.

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University of Michigan Law School

Meghan M. O’Neil

Social Science Research Fellow
University of Michigan Law School

Co-Investigator

Email: meghanon@umich.edu

Meghan M. O’Neil is a Social Science Research Fellow at the University of Michigan Law School and a Postdoctoral Fellow Affiliate with the Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research, and a faculty expert at Poverty Solutions at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Dr. O’Neil is a Co-Investigator on the Community Corrections Fines and Fees Project. Her research focuses on poverty, alternative sanctions, housing insecurity, public policy, and racial inequality. She conducts empirical research on how our most vulnerable citizens interact with the judicial system to understand how excessive court-mandated costs can spur deleterious consequences such as homelessness, bankruptcy, criminal activity, and victimization. Her work uncovers the role court-ordered fines, fees, and costs play in perpetuating poverty and sustaining gender and racial disparities in American families. Dr. O’Neil is primary investigator for “Removing Barriers to Recovery: Community Partnering for Innovative Solutions to the Opioid Crisis” for which her team won two INNOVATE Awards, including the Judge’s Choice Award. Prior to matriculating for her PhD, Dr. O’Neil worked as Senior Data Scientist on Wall Street and for the NYC Department of Social Services. Dr. O’Neil used mixed methods including management of the nation’s most culturally diverse and largest welfare caseload database, interviews, surveys, focus groups, and ethnography to determine the outcomes and efficiency of several city-wide joint initiatives serving the homeless and those returning their communities after prison. Dr. O’Neil previously worked as a statistical intern with the Police Department, Merrill Lynch, and the Special Narcotics Office for the Manhattan District Attorney. She was sponsored by Merrill Lynch as a Women’s International Leadership Fellow at the International House of New York.

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University of Minnesota Law School

Erin Harbinson

Research Fellow
Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
University of Minnesota Law School

Co-Investigator

Email: eharbins@umn.edu

Erin Harbinson is a Research Fellow at the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice and a Co-Investigator on the Community Corrections Fines and Fees Project. She received her PhD in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati. Her dissertation examined the predictive validity of a correctional risk/needs assessment on white-collar offenders.  She also managed research projects for the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute and assisted criminal justice agencies with the implementation of evidence-based practices by evaluating correctional programs and conducting training for correctional staff on risk assessment, core correctional practices, and effective programming. Her research interests are risk assessment, correctional policy, supervision and program effectiveness, and white-collar crime. Prior to joining the Robina Institute, she worked at the Council of State Governments Justice Center as a policy analyst, where she provided technical assistance to states implementing justice reinvestment legislation and data driven policies.

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Julia Laskorunsky

Research Fellow
Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
University of Minnesota Law School

Co-Investigator

Email: jlaskoru@umn.edu

Julia Laskorunsky is a Research Fellow at the Robina Institute, where she works on the Criminal History Enhancements Project and the Parole Release and Revocation Project. She is a Co-Investigator for the Community Corrections Fines and Fees Project. She received her PhD in Criminology from Pennsylvania State University. Her dissertation focused on the use of actuarial risk assessments at sentencing and was funded by the National Institute of Justice Dissertation Fellowship. Her research focuses on the ways sentencing structures and correctional practices affect incarceration rates and racial disparity in the criminal justice system. Her work can be seen in the Journal of Crime and Justice, the Advancing Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy, and Oxford Handbooks Online. She was formerly a Deputy Project Director and Research Assistant for Development Services Group, Inc., where she worked on multiple projects for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the National Institute of Justice.

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Kelly Lyn Mitchell

Executive Director
Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
Lecturer in Law
University of Minnesota Law School

Subject Matter Expert

Email: mitch093@umn.edu

Kelly Lyn Mitchell is the Executive Director of the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, and Co-Director of the Institute’s Sentencing Guidelines Resource Center. She is a subject-matter expert on the Community Corrections Fines and Fees Project. She was the Executive Director of the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission from 2011 to 2014, and served as the President of the National Association of Sentencing Commissions from 2014-2017. Prior to joining the Robina Institute, she worked at the Minnesota Judicial Branch from 2001-2011 as a staff attorney and manager, where she served as the Branch’s liaison to other criminal justice agencies and was responsible for several statewide programs and services such as drug courts, the court interpreter program, and examiner services for sex offender civil commitment exams. She also provided legal support to trial court judges and court administrators on issues ranging from criminal and juvenile delinquency law to court records access and fines and fees in the criminal justice system.  Additionally, she provided legal support for several Minnesota Supreme Court rules and policy committees, and led efforts to fully revise the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Minnesota Juvenile Delinquency Rules of Procedure. Over the course of her career, she has held numerous appointments on committees and task forces on issues such as prison population control, probation supervision, sex offender management, and collateral consequences. She earned her J.D. from the University of North Dakota Law School, and has a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

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Monica Wittstock

Assistant Director of Communications
University of Minnesota Law School

Communications

Email: witt0265@umn.edu

Monica Wittstock is the Communications and Development Manager for the Robina Institute on Criminal Law and Criminal Justice and the Assistant Director of Communications at the University of Minnesota Law School. Formerly, Monica was the the Communications Specialist for the University of Minnesota Law School’s Consortium on Law and Values, where she also managed publication and production of the Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology. She holds a BA in Multidisciplinary Studies from the University Minnesota-Twin Cities and is a graduate student in the Strategic Communications program at the University’s Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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Northeastern University

Shytierra Gaston

Assistant Professor
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Northeastern University

Co-Investigator

Email: s.gaston@northeastern.edu

Shytierra Gaston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and a Co-Investigator for the Community Corrections Fines and Fees Project. Dr. Gaston’s research and teaching expertise centers on two broad areas: the intersection of race/ethnicity, crime, and criminal justice and the U.S. correctional system. In particular, she uses quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies to investigate research topics related to the treatment of people of color during criminal justice processing, the reentry experiences of inmates, and the collateral consequences of punishment for the formerly incarcerated and their families and communities. Her recent research has examined the sources of race disparities in drug law enforcement, the long-term mental health consequences of parental incarceration, and the highly-speculated 2015 and 2016 rise in U.S. homicide rates. She is an active member of the American Society of Criminology and the Racial Democracy, Crime, and Justice Network. Dr. Gaston holds a Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

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Rutgers University

Nathan Link

Assistant Professor at Rutgers–Camden

Co-Investigator

Email: nathan.link@rutgers.edu

Dr. Nathan Link is an Assistant Professor at Rutgers–Camden. He earned a MSW from Rutgers and a Ph.D. in criminal justice from Temple University. His research interests include incarceration and reentry, financial obligations and criminal justice debt, and mental and physical health, especially as they all relate to policy. In 2018, he won the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ Donal MacNamara Award for outstanding journal publication. His work appears in a number of journals, including Justice Quarterly, Journal of Experimental Criminology, Criminal Justice and Behavior, Crime and Delinquency, Health & Justice, Journal of Offender Rehabilitation and The Sociological Quarterly.

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