Rutgers School of Criminal Justice

Dr. Sara Wakefield

Assistant Professor


Ph.D. (2007) University of Minnesota



Sara Wakefield received her Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota in 2007. Her research interests focus on the consequences of mass imprisonment for the family, with an emphasis on childhood wellbeing and racial inequality, culminating in a series of articles and book, Children of the Prison Boom: Mass Incarceration and the Future of American Inequality. Related work examines the social networks and conditions of confinement of inmates as well as the influence of DNA databases on crime rates and racial inequality. In other research, Dr. Wakefield is an investigator on a multi-disciplinary, NICHD-funded (PO1) study of human capital interventions during childhood and adolescence.

Areas of Specialization
Life Course
Childhood Wellbeing

Key Publications

Wakefield, Sara and Christopher Wildeman. 2013. Children of the Prison Boom: Mass Incarceration and the Future of American Inequality. Oxford University Press.

Wakefield, Sara and Christopher Wildeman. 2011. “Mass Imprisonment and Racial Disparities in Childhood Behavioral Problems.” Criminology & Public Policy 10, 3: 793-817.

Wakefield, Sara and Christopher Uggen. 2010. “Incarceration and Stratification.” Annual Review of Sociology 36: 1-20.

Bruckner, Tim A., Thurston Domina, Jin Kyoung Hwang, Julie Gerlinger, Christopher Carpenter, and Sara Wakefield. In Press. “State-Level Education Standards for Substance Use Prevention Programs in Schools: A Systematic Content Analysis.” Journal of Adolescent Health.


Kreager, Derek, David Schaefer, Martin Bouchard, Dana Haynie, Sara Wakefield, Jacob Young, and Gary Zajac. 2015. “Toward a Criminology of Inmate Prison Networks.” Justice Quarterly.

Wakefield, Sara. 2015. “Accentuating the Positive or Eliminating the Negative? Father Incarceration and Caregiver-Child Relationship Quality.” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 104, 4.


973-353-5639  /  Send an email  /  Office: CLJ 579C