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Dr. Robert Apel

Professor and Ph.D. Program Chair


Ph.D. (2004) Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland; M.A. (2001) Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland; B.A. (1998) Criminology and Spanish, Drury University

Office Location

CLJ, 579 H

Areas of Specialization

Labor market
Justice policy
Life course
Violence and injury
Causal inference


Robert Apel (pronounced AY-pull) is a criminologist by training and has been on the faculty at Rutgers University-Newark since 2011. Much of his research is at the intersection of crime, the justice system, and the labor market. This research seeks to better understand the work-crime relationship, the impact of criminal justice involvement on long-term employment, the comparative effects of the labor market and the social safety net on crime, and the efficacy of employment-based reentry programming. With financial assistance from Arnold Ventures, his recent efforts involve data analysis for the NJ Criminal Sentencing and Disposition Commission, in support of its dual charge to reduce the number of people incarcerated in state prison and remedy large racial disparities.



Recent Grants

Apel, R. (Principal Investigator) , & Clear, T. (co-P.I.). Arnold Ventures. Technical Support for New Jersey Criminal Sentencing and Disposition Commission. July 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020. $303,916.

This project provides technical support to the newly reconstituted New Jersey Criminal Sentencing and Disposition Commission in its charge to reduce mass incarceration and racial disparity. The objectives include providing (1) timely social science reviews of the potential impact of prison reforms on the size and racial disparity of the state prison population; and (2) projections of the size and racial disparity of the state prison population in response to hypothetical policies and practices.


Recent & Key Publications

Baćak, V., & Apel, R. (in press). The thin blue line of health: Police contact and civilian wellbeing in Europe. Social Science and Medicine.

Bhardwaj, N., & Apel, R. (in press). Societal gender inequality and the gender gap in safety perceptions: Comparative evidence from the International Crime Victims Survey. European Journal of Criminology.

Demir, M., Apel, R., Braga, A. A., Brunson, R. K., & Ariel, B. (2020). Body worn cameras, procedural justice, and police legitimacy: A controlled experimental evaluation of traffic stops. Justice Quarterly, 37, 53-84.

Apel, R., & Powell, K. (2019). Level of criminal justice contact and early adult wage inequality. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 5, 198-222.

Apel, R., & Horney, J. (2017). How and why does work matter? Employment conditions, routine activities, and crime among adult male offenders. Criminology, 55, 307-343.