I am a cultural criminologist whose research focuses on the social and legal construction of correctional systems and structures. My work argues that correctional systems and structures do not exist in a vacuum. Rather, they are justified and reframed through criminal justice policy and reflect society’s view towards those who break the law. The social construction of corrections offers a means of critiquing the politics of crime and crime control and the politics of mainstream criminology that reify existing systems and structures.

Geographic Communities of Corrections

My main line of inquiry focuses on the geographic community of correctional spaces. By geographic community, I mean the characteristics of the neighborhoods in which correctional spaces are located and the architectural aspects of these spaces. This avenue of inquiry questions the innocuous nature of the community corrections offices and questions whether neighborhood characteristics of a location where those who for or are under supervision on probation and parole—rather than neighborhoods where they live—have an impact on community supervision. 

Related Publications

Shah, R. (2020). Hidden in plain sight: Architectures of community corrections as public secretProbation Journal, 67(2), 137-159.

Shah, R.  (2015).  Expanding the community: An exploratory analysis of a parole office’s location and its impact on parolees. British Journal of Criminology, 55(2), 321-340.

Photo Exhibit: Prison or slave castle? A photo exhibit examining the architecture of imprisonment

Understanding Rehabilitation

The second line of inquiry examines the way the concept of rehabilitation is conceived by various actors in the criminal legal system. Specifically, I analyze how rehabilitation is defined as a legislative goal and how it is defined by those working in or involved with probation and parole. I question the currently accepted, but narrow, view that rehabilitation is solely about recidivism reduction and eliminating criminal behavior. 

Related Publications

Shah, R. (2017). The meaning of rehabilitation and its impact on parole: There and back again in California. New York: Routledge.

Shah, R. (2012).  Parole.  In W. R. Miller, (Ed.), The social history of crime and punishment in America: An encyclopedia.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Shah, R. (2012).  Rehabilitation.  In W. R. Miller, (Ed.), The Social history of crime and punishment in America: An encyclopedia.Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Research About the Field of Criminology

I also conduct research on criminological methods and pedagogy. In terms of methods, I focus on the ways in which criminological methods can be re-thought or expanded. Pedagogically, my research focuses on critical approaches to teaching criminology and law.

Related Publications

Shah, R. (Expected 2021). Centering the margins: Addressing the implementation gap in Critical Criminology [Special issue]. Critical Criminology.

*Henne, H., and Shah, R. (Eds.). (2020). The Routledge Handbook of Public CriminologiesNew York: Routledge.

Shah, R., and Henne, K. (2020). Public criminology revisited: An invitation. In K. Henne and R. Shah (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of public criminologies. New York: Routledge.

Shah, R. (2019). Mentoring, social justice, and the future of critical criminologyThe Critical Criminologist, 27(1), p. 32-37.

Henne, K., and Shah, R. (2016). Feminist criminology and the visualOxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. New York: Oxford University Press.

Shah, R., and Kopko, K. C. (2016). Feminist pedagogy and the Socratic method: Partners in the classroom or a disaster waiting to happen? Higher Education Studies, 6(2). DOI: 10.5539/hes.v6n2p39

Shah, R. (2016). Book review: Visual, narrative and creative research methods: Application, reflection and ethics. Visual Methodologies, 4(2), p. I-III.

Shah, R. (2015). Film review: Conducting Hope. Teaching Sociology, 43(2), 172-175.

*Henne, K. and Shah, R. (2015). Unveiling White logic in Criminological research: An intertextual analysis. Contemporary Justice Review, 18(2), 105-120.

*Henne, K., & Shah, R.  (2012).  Reimagining the images of the crimino-legal complex: Toward a critical pedagogy.  The Critical Criminologist, 21(1), 4-9.

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