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Dr. Sara Wakefield

Associate Professor


Ph.D. (2007) Sociology, University of Minnesota; M.S. (2001) Sociology, University of Wisconsin; B.A. (1998) Sociology (Law, Crime, and Deviance), 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 (Oxford University Press, with Chris Wildeman). More recently, she is working on several original data collection projects funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Justice. The Prison Inmate Networks Studies (PINS and WO-PINS) leverage a variety of methods and data sources (surveys, intensive interviews, administrative data, and social network analysis) to more fully understand how social ties influence the conditions of confinement, community reintegration, and social inequality.





Key Publications

Shannon, Sarah K.S., Christopher Uggen, Jason Schnittker, Melissa Thompson, Sara Wakefield, and Michael Massoglia. Forthcoming. “The Growth, Scope, and Spatial Distribution of People with Felony Records in the United States, 1948 to 2010.” Demography.

Wakefield, Sara and Kathleen Powell. 2016. “Distinguishing ‘Petty Offenders’ from ‘Serious Criminals’ in the Estimation of Family Life Effects.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 665: 195-212.

Kreager, Derek, David Schaefer, Martin Bouchard, Dana Haynie, Sara Wakefield, Jacob Young, and Gary Zajac. 2016. “Toward a Criminology of Inmate Prison Networks.” Justice Quarterly 33, 6: 1000-1028.

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

Wakefield, Sara and Christopher Uggen. 2010. “Incarceration and Stratification.” Annual Review of Sociology 36: 387-406.


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