Dr. McCorkel is Associate Professor of Sociology
and Criminology and a Faculty Associate of the Africana Studies Program at
Villanova University. She
received her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Delaware. While
there, she worked as the lead ethnographer at the Center for Drug & Alcohol
Studies on several projects funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse
(NIDA), including research on prison-based drug treatment programs, prisoner
reentry, and street-level drug trafficking. During the Fall 2017 -
Spring 2018 academic year, Dr. McCorkel is on sabbatical in Dublin, Ireland.
She will be a visiting scholar at the Institute of Criminology at University
Dr. McCorkel's research investigates the social and political
consequences of mass incarceration in the United States. She focuses
primarily on how law and systems of punishment perpetuate race, class, and
gender-based inequities. In 2014, she received the Distinguished Scholar
Award from the American Society of Criminology Division of Women and Crime
for her research in these areas. Her book, Breaking Women: Gender, Race, and the New Politics of Imprisonment
(New York University Press, 2013), explores the consequences of the War
on Drugs and "get tough" policies for women prisoners. Using
detailed participation observation and candid interviews with
prisoners, staff, and state officials, she examines how prison
privatization and the racial politics of the Drug War collapsed the
rehabilitative ideal and, in the process, transformed the logic and
practice of punishment in women's prisons. Her book was selected by the
Society for the Study of Social Problems as one of five finalists for the
prestigious C. Wright Mills Award.
In addition to her research, Dr. McCorkel serves on the advisory board of Villanova's undergraduate
degree program at SCI - Graterford, the largest maximum security prison in
Pennsylvania. She teaches undergraduate sociology courses in the
prison, collaborates on program development, and offers a service-learning
course that brings on-campus students into the prison as literacy tutors.
Villanova's undergraduate degree program was recently selected by the Obama
administration to participate in the Second Chance Pell initiatve.
This innovative pilot program expands opportunities for qualified prisoners
to pursue undergraduate degrees.
On campus, Dr. McCorkel teaches courses in the Sociology Law, the Sociology
of Punishment, and Introdution to Sociology. She has been a semi-finalist for the University's Lindback Teaching Award and,
in 2013, was selected by the senior class to give Villanova
University's "Last Lecture."
In addition to her research and teaching, Dr. McCorkel works as a
consultant on wrongful conviction cases and commutation and parole
petitions. She is currently an advisor to Larry Krasner, the Democratic
nominee for District Attorney of Philadelphia. She has previously
served with the John Howard Association as a court-appointed monitor for the
Illinois prison system. She spends her spare time photographing Philadelphia and
chasing after her dogs, Felonius Monk and Nina Simone.