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Dr. Mercer Sullivan



Ph.D. (1986) Columbia University; M.A. (1985) Columbia University; B.A. (1973) Yale University

Office Location

CLJ, 557

Areas of Specialization

Youth Crime
Communities and Crime
School Crime
Crime and the Life Course
Urban Poverty and Family Structure and Process
Community Development
Prisoner Reentry
Qualitative Research Methods


Professor Sullivan’s book Getting Paid: Youth Crime and Work in the Inner City (Cornell University Press, 1989) is widely cited as a seminal study of ecological influences on youth development. He is one of the first researchers to have studied the male role in teenage pregnancy and parenting. His other research has examined the roles of community development corporations in promoting public safety, multiple-victim school shootings, patterns of ordinary school violence, the relation of public perceptions of youth gang activity to actual patterns of youth violence, and the social processes of reentry from juvenile incarceration. He teaches courses on qualitative research methods, violent crime, juvenile justice, developmental and life course criminology, and general criminology.

Recent and Key Publications

Sullivan, M. L. (2016). Ethnographic research on criminal careers: Needs, contributions, prospects.  Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 53(3): 392-405.

Miller, J., Copland, K. and Sullivan, M.  (2015).  Keeping them off the corner: How probation officers steer offenders away from crime opportunities.  Prison Journal.

Miller, J., Copland, K. and Sullivan, M.  (2014). How probation officers leverage “third parities in offender supervision.  Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. 53(8): 641-657.

Sullivan, M.L.  (1989). Getting Paid: Youth Crime and Work in the Inner City.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press.