Jessica T. Simes is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Boston University.

Her scholarship broadly examines the consequences of mass incarceration for communities and neighborhoods in the United States. Her research to date has focused on racial inequality and health disparities in criminalizing and punitive experiences.

She is the author of Punishing Places: The Geography of Mass Imprisonment (University of California Press, 2021), which was awarded the 2022 Robert E. Park Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association Community and Urban Sociology Section. Excerpts from her book are published at Inquest and UC Press Blog, and the book has been reviewed in Public Books.

Jessica's research has been published in a wide range of academic outlets, including PLOS One, Science Advances, Journal of Urban Health, City & Community, Social Service Review, Criminology, and Journal of Quantitative Criminology. Her work has received awards from the American Sociological Association and the Society for the Study of Social Problems. Her research has been supported by grants from National Science Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Arnold Ventures, and the Social Science Research Council. Her work is featured in TIME, The Atlantic, CityLab, The Appeal, and GovTech, among other outlets.

She is currently working on two main research projects: a study of the social and health effects of solitary confinement, and a study of racial disparities in policing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jessica received her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Critical Theory and Social Justice from Occidental College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University.


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