criminal legal system - families - health - inequality

Kristin Turney is a researcher and educator who investigates the role of stressors in creating, maintaining, and exacerbating social inequalities in health and wellbeing. Her current research uses quantitative and qualitative methods to understand the repercussions of stressors (particularly, but not exclusively, those stemming from the criminal legal system) on families and children. She is also working to bring greater transparency to the conditions inside jails and prisons through the creation of a digital archive, PrisonPandemic. She is a professor in the Department of Sociology (and, by courtesy, Criminology, Law and Society) at the University of California, Irvine. Her research has been funded by many organizations including Arnold Ventures, the Council on Library and Information Resources, the Foundation for Child Development, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Science Foundation, and the William T. Grant Foundation.

Kristin Turney being a good sport and smiling for her reluctant headshot

Ongoing Projects


Digital archive preserving the stories of people incarcerated (in jails, state and federal prisons, and immigration detention facilities), their families, and prison employees

Funded by ACLS-NEH, Arnold Ventures, California Humanities, CLIR, and NEH

Jail and Family Life Study

Longitudinal qualitative study of 123 fathers experiencing jail incarceration and their family members (including their children, current and former romantic partners, and mothers)

Funded by the National Science Foundation and William T. Grant Foundation

Consequences of  Criminal Legal Contact

Quantitative analysis of how contact with the criminal legal system—via police stops, arrests, and incarceration—challenge the adapting functioning of individuals and families

Funded by AERA, Foundation for Child Development, NAEd/Spencer Foundation, NICHD, and William T. Grant Foundation

Pandemic-Related Mortality

Demographic analysis of racial/ethnic disparities in pandemic-related mortality among incarcerated populations and those recently released from jail

Funded by ARCH Network and the National Science Foundation

Selected Research

Excess Mortality in U.S. Prisons During the COVID-19 Pandemic

'Even Though We're Married, I'm Single': The Meaning of Jail Incarceration in Romantic Relationships

Incarceration and Family Instability: Considering Relationship Churning