Sharon Oselin, Ph.D.


Sharon Oselin

Dr. Sharon Oselin has been Director of the Presley Center of Crime & Justice Studies since 2018. She is an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Sociology at UC Riverside. Sharon received her Ph.D. from UC Irvine and is a past fellow of the American Association of University Women.

Dr. Oselin’s broad research interests encompass crime, the criminal-legal system, deviance, gender and sexuality, organizations, and culture. Sharon’s work has historically focused on the intersections of crime, deviance, and gender, and she has conducted much research on sex work. She is the author of Leaving Prostitution: Getting Out and Staying Out of Sex Work (New York University Press, 2014). Based on multi-site ethnographic data, this book exposes the dynamics that unfold between service organizations and female street sex workers who affiliate with them. To that end, she assesses the process of exiting, the extent to which organizations facilitate or constrain this transition, and the agency of women sex workers along the way. Oselin’s additional research on sex work is published in a wide variety of academic journals.

Another area of her research examines illicit markets, space and inequality. In one study published in the journal Social Problems, Oselin, Hail-Jares, and Kushida examine how gentrification impacts illicit outdoor sex markets in Washington, DC. Although extant research generally concludes that gentrification has negative effects for outdoor sex markets and their workers, this analysis reveals a more complicated assessment. Indeed, it shows a more nuanced understanding whereby sex workers consider an array of factors in their decision-making about where to work (social support, environmental conditions, policing, and competition), and many prefer to remain in gentrified settings. This project received funding from The Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline, American Sociological Association and the National Science Foundation Award in 2020, the CoR Research Grant from UC Riverside in 2019, and a Blum Initiative Faculty Seed Grant in 2016. Building off this study, Sharon, Chris Smith, and other collaborators, are currently working on a longitudinal project that investigates three illicit markets (sex work, drug sales, and gambling) within two major cities – Chicago and Toronto. This project relies on data from police arrests, 911 calls, Yellow Page ad listings, References US/Canada, and the Census to assess the spatial locations and trends of these illicit market activities over time. Moreover, they consider how various contextual factors (e.g., gentrification, social disadvantage, policies) impact these illicit activities. This project received financial support from The Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and an article from it is currently under review.

A third area of research focuses on crime, the criminal-legal system and its institutions, and re-entry. In one study, Oselin, Mahutga and Flores evaluate the efficacy of the Riverside Probation Department’s Day Reporting Centers—which provide an array of services and resources—for people on probation and their successful reintegration. They conclude DRCs lower recidivism, and they also identify the various mechanisms that potentially account for this outcome. This study is published in the journal Criminal Justice and Behavior.

In a different project, Oselin and Ross (with other collaborators) investigate employers’ hiring practices of formerly incarcerated individuals in the Inland Empire region amidst the backdrop of California’s Fair Chance Act (2018). Specifically, this mixed-methods study interrogates the hiring practices and preferences of employers through a survey (with an embedded experiment), and interviews with company hiring decision-makers. The findings unearth that most employers violate the Fair Chance Act, confirming the lingering widespread reluctance to hire those with criminal records despite legislative protections. This article is forthcoming in the journal Criminology & Public Policy, and the project was funded by a John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation Grant. In the next phase of this project, they will analyze interview data with a subset of these employers to better understand their hiring practices and reservations, and the extent to which both are influenced by public and company policies.

Finally, Dr. Oselin is PI on two collaborative mixed-methods projects to evaluate the statewide Prison to Employment Initiative (P2E)—the integration of workforce and re-entry services across California for formerly incarcerated people—offered primarily through community-based organizations. Sharon and colleagues will continue to assess the labor market outcomes of the formerly incarcerated, as well as other indicators of well-being, after they receive P2E services. This project is funded by the California Workforce Development Board, and multiple articles based on it are in progress.

Oselin Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Justine Ross, Ph.D.

Associate Director

Justine Ross

Dr. Justine Ross is the Associate Director of the Presley Center, where she contributes to the Center’s direction through the creation and implementation of new programming, development activities, and partnerships with external constituencies. She is also responsible for overseeing the Center’s day-to-day operations, including managing relationships with the Center’s contracting agencies, research administration, and all student programs.

Dr. Ross contributes to the Center’s ongoing research, including its scholarly research, as well as its reports and presentations to contracting agencies and other key stakeholders. Most recently, she and Oselin (with other collaborators) received a grant from the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation to conduct the first study of employer hiring practices after the passage of the CA Fair Chance Act (2018). The project finds employers in the Inland Empire overwhelmingly violate the law by considering applicants’ criminal history prior to a conditional offer of employment and remain largely averse toward hiring those with records, among other key findings on hiring policy and practice. The first article based on this mixed-methods research is forthcoming in Criminology & Public Policy.

Previously, Dr. Ross worked in Government Affairs for a higher-education company and managed the county operations of a national presidential campaign. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Riverside.

Michael A. Ramos 

External Relations Director

Winter Quarter Office Hours on Thursdays from 1pm-3pm in INTN 4022 and by appointment.

Michael RamosMichael A. Ramos was elected as San Bernardino County’s District Attorney in 2003 and served in the position until 2019. An undergraduate alumnus of UC Riverside, he received his law degree from Citrus Belt Law in 1989 and joined the San Bernardino County District Attorney Office as a Deputy District Attorney the same year, serving in the Major Crimes division. Michael is President of the California District Attorneys Association Foundation Board of Directors and a board member of the California Crime Victims Alliance. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the Claremont-McKenna colleges, teaching a graduate course on law and economics. 

Michael is a native of San Bernardino County.

Sergio G. Diaz

External Relations Director

Winter Quarter Office Hours on Tuesdays from 10am-12pm in INTN 4022 and by appointment.

Sergio DiazSergio G. Diaz was the chief of police for the city of Riverside, California between July 1, 2010 and September 19, 2019. Born in Cuba, he immigrated to the United States at the age of seven and was educated in public schools in South Florida and Los Angeles County. Sergio holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles and completed all course work in a public policy and administration master’s program at California State University, Long Beach. Prior to joining the Riverside Police Department, Sergio was a police officer in the city of Los Angeles for 33 years, retiring at the rank of Deputy Chief in 2010.  Sergio’s professional philosophy includes a deep commitment to the concept of community policing and a belief that a police department’s effectiveness depends on earning the trust of the community that it serves.

Sergio and his family reside in Riverside.

Manjing Gao

Postdoctoral Researcher

Manjing GaoManjing Gao is a postdoctoral researcher at the Presley Center, actively engaged in the Center’s ongoing research, such as the evaluation of the California Prison to Employment (P2E) initiative on a statewide level. Her research interests focus on employing quantitative methodologies and a comparative perspective to examine how macro factors (such as public policies, institutional context, and culture) interact with micro individual-level traits (e.g., socioeconomic status, race, and gender) to shape health and income inequalities worldwide. She obtained her Ph.D. in Sociology and M.S. in Statistics from UC Riverside.


Randol Contreras, Associate Professor of Media and Cultural Studies

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Dr. Contreras acquired his Ph.D. from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of the multiple-award winning book, The Stickup Kids: Race, Drugs, Violence and the American Dream, which captures how the transformation of an illegal drug market in the South Bronx shaped and influenced drug dealers to become violent drug robbers. He has also done research in South Central, where he examined the ethnic conflicts between Mexicans and African Americans, especially in how residents interpret ethnic gangs. Currently, he is doing field research on aging Mexican gang members in East Los Angeles, documenting their struggles with substance abuse, homelessness, and income earning strategies. A common theme in his work is the intersection of history, social structure, and biography, an intersection that sheds light on how criminal phenomena emerge and how they shape and influence the behavior and meanings of people. His research and teaching interests include gangs, illegal drug markets, ethnography, and racial and ethnic conflicts in marginal communities.

Robynn Cox, Assistant Professor of Public Policy

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Dr. Robynn Cox is an assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside, faculty affiliate at the UC Riverside Presley Center of Crime & Justice, Fellow at the USC Schaefer Center for Health Policy and Economics, and senior scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute (OIGI). Her research interests include the fields of crime, health, labor, housing, and social and racial inequality. She has primarily focused on understanding the social, economic, and health consequences of mass incarceration policies. Her research uses a life course approach to understand the effect of the CLS along a continuum of first contact to reintegration back into society. Her work has been published in various journals including including The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Neuropharmacology, AEA Papers and Proceedings, Justice Quarterly, Cityscape, Journal of Labor Research, Southern Economic Journal, and Review of Black Political Economy. Most recently, Cox was invited to be a member of the advisory committee for the National Academy of Medicine’s Culture of Health Program (CoHP). She was also selected as a Wawa and Kelso Fellow at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations’ Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing.


  • Cox, R and Wallace, R (in Press). Role of Incarceration As a Risk Factor for Cognitive Impairment. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences
  • Amaro, H., Sanchez, M., Bautista, T., & Cox, R. (2021). Social vulnerabilities for substance use: Stressors, socially toxic environments, and discrimination and racism. Neuropharmacology, 108518.
  • Cox, R. and Cunningham, J.P. (2021). Financing the War on Drugs: The Impact of Law Enforcement Grants on Racial Disparities in Drug Arrests. Journal of Policy Analysis & Management, 40(1), 191-224.
  • Cox, R. (2020, May). The Role of Broad-Based Employee Ownerships Opportunities in Prisoner Reentry. In AEA Papers and Proceedings (Vol. 110, pp. 424-29).
  • Cox, R., Henwood, B., Rodnyansky, S., Rice, E., & Wenzel, S. (2019). Road Map to a Unified Measure of Housing Insecurity. Cityscape, 21(2), 93-128.
  • Cox, R., & Wallace, S. (2016). Identifying the link between food security and incarceration. Southern Economic Journal, 82(4), 1062-1077.

Ozkan Eren, Associate Professor of Economics

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John Fischer

Ozkan Eren is an Associate Professor of Economics and the editor of Journal of Labor Research. His main field of research are in economics of education, economics of crime and applied econometrics. His current work focuses on educational policies and crime, juvenile incarceration and adult recidivism, as well as emotional cues and their impact on judicial decisions. His recent research appeared in many prestigious media outlets including New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post and Fortune Magazine.


  • Eren, Ozkan and Naci Mocan. “Emotional Judges and Unlucky Juveniles,” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2018, 10, 171-205.
  • Depew, Briggs, Ozkan Eren and Naci Mocan. “Judges and Juveniles,” Journal of Law and Economics, 2017, 60, 209-239.
  • Eren, Ozkan, Briggs Depew, and Stephen Barnes. “Test-Based Promotion Policies, Dropping Out, and Juvenile Crime,” Journal of Public Economics, 2017, 153, 9-31
  • Eren, Ozkan, and Serkan Ozbeklik. “What Do Right-to-Work Laws Do? A Case Study Using Synthetic Control Method,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2016, 35, 173-194.

John Fischer, Professor of Philosophy

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John Fischer

Dr. Fischer has written on moral responsibility theory his entire career, starting with his paper in the Journal of Philosophy, "Responsibility and Control," when he was an Associate Professor at Yale (in 1982). He has edited two collections published with the Cornell University Press, Moral Responsibility (1986) and Perspectives on Moral Responsibility (1993). Dr. Fischer's main work on these topics is his book (co-authored with Mark Ravizza), Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility (Cambridge University Press, 1998). He has published roughly 175 articles on these and related topics, three monographs, and a dozen or so anthologies. Dr. Fischer is the first philosopher ever appointed as a University Professor in the University of California.

Tony Grubesic, Professor of Public Policy, Center for Geospatial Sciences

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Tony Grubesic

Dr. Grubesic is the Director of the Center for Geospatial Sciences and a Professor in the School of Public Policy. His research and teaching interests include spatial data science, geocomputation, crime, transport, regional development, and public policy evaluation. Author of over 170 research publications, his recent work focuses on using drones for urban spatial analysis, developing approaches for evaluating community vulnerability, and the public health implications of extreme events. 



  • Grubesic, T. H., & Mack, E. A. (2008). Spatio-temporal interaction of urban crime. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 24(3), 285-306.
  • Grubesic, T. H. (2006). On the application of fuzzy clustering for crime hot spot detection. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 22(1), 77-105.
  • Grubesic, T. H., Nelson, J. R., Wallace, D., Eason, J., Towers, S., & Walker, J. (2021). Geodemographic insights on the COVID-19 pandemic in the State of Wisconsin and the role of risky facilities. GeoJournal, 1-23.
  • Wallace, D., Eason, J. M., Walker, J., Towers, S., Grubesic, T. H., & Nelson, J. R. (2021). Is there a temporal relationship between COVID-19 infections among prison staff, incarcerated persons, and the larger community in the United States? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(13), 6873.
  • Krupa, J. M., Boggess, L. N., Chamberlain, A. W., & Grubesic, T. H. (2021). Noxious housing: The influence of single room occupancy (SRO) facilities on neighborhood crime. Crime & Delinquency, 67(9), 1404-1428.

Ron Loveridge, Professor of Political Science

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Ron Loveridge

Mayor Loveridge has 33 years of public service – as a Riverside Council member beginning in 1979 and as Mayor from 1994 to 2012 and received his doctorate from Stanford University. At the national level, he was very involved on the Executive Committee and Board of the National League of Cities, making policy calls and decisions on behalf of some 19,000 cities and towns across the nation. He also served as President of the National League of Cities in 2010. Mayor Loveridge is a member of the National Academy of Public Policy. His statewide and regional service has included Board roles on the broadest array of important organizations: the California Air Resources Board, California Forward Action Fund, California Competes, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Southern California Association of Governments, Western Riverside Council of Governments, and the Inland Empire Economic Partnership. Mayor Loveridge’s research investigates urban politics and public policy, particularly environmental policy. He is the author of City Managers in Legislative Politics (Bobbs-Merrill, 1971). His research has appeared in Polity, Environment and Behavior, California Air Environment, and Cry California, as well as several edited volumes.

Matthew C. Mahutga, Professor of Sociology

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Aerika Brittian Loyd

Matthew C. Mahutga is a Professor of Sociology and co-chair of UCR’s Political Economy Seminar. His research employs quantitative methodologies to examine how macro (e.g. structural economic changes, institutional context, labor markets) and micro (human capital, race and gender) level factors shape income inequality worldwide. Dr. Mahutga is a principal investigator on the Presley Center’s statewide evaluation of the California Prison to Employment (P2E) initiative where he lends his expertise in labor market stratification and quantitative methods.

Benjamin J. Newman, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Science

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Benjamin Newman

Dr. Newman is a political scientist whose main fields of research are American politics, class and income inequality, and racial and ethnic politics. He is currently working on collaborative projects exploring the effect of police practices on public trust in law enforcement, public opinion toward corporate and white collar crime, and the response of law enforcement to civilian complaint. These works are under review for publication and in progress.


  • Newman, B., & Hartman, T. (2017). Mass Shootings and Public Support for Gun Control. British Journal of Political Science, 1-27. doi:10.1017/S0007123417000333

Tanya Nieri, Associate Professor of Sociology

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Tanya Nieri

Dr. Nieri's research interests include causes and consequences of acculturation, particularly among immigrant families and youths; youth problem behaviors, particularly substance use and violence; and culturally grounded community-based prevention interventions. Her research, which is primarily quantitative, tends to focus on Latinos, particularly those of Mexican-heritage in the United States and in Mexico. Tanya examines the resiliencies in a person's original ethnic culture and the risks associated with the loss of that culture and acquisition of American culture. At UCR, Tanya is affiliated with the Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies, School of Public Policy and the Center for Healthy Communities, School of Medicine.


  • Nieri, T., Grindal, M., Adams, M.A., Cookston, J., Fabricius, W., Parke, R., & Saenz, D. (2016). Reconsidering the “acculturation gap” narrative through an analysis of parent-adolescent acculturation differences and youth problem behavior in Mexican American families. Journal of Family Issues, 37(14). doi: 10.1177/0192513X14551175
  • Grindal, M., & Nieri, T. (2015). The relationship between ethnic-racial socialization and adolescent substance use: An examination of social learning as a causal mechanism. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse. 37 pages. doi: 10.1080/15332640.2014.993785
  • Grindal, M., & Nieri, T. (2015). An examination of ethnic identity and academic performance: Assessing the multidimensional role of parental ethnic-racial socialization among a sample of Latino adolescents. Race and Social Problems, 7(3), 242-255. doi: 10.1007/s12552-015-9154-5
  • Nieri, T., Apkarian, J., Marsiglia, F.F., & Kulis, S.S. (2015). Effects of a youth substance use prevention program on stealing, fighting, and weapon use. Journal of Primary Prevention, 36(1), 41-49. doi: 10.1007/s10935-014-0373-0. PMC4289019.
  • Nieri, T., & Bermudez-Parsai, M. (2014). Gap or overlap? Parent-child acculturation differences in Mexican immigrant families. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 36(4), 413-434. doi: 10.1177/0739986314552047


Ran Wei, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Founding Faculty, Center for Geospatial Sciences

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Ran Wedi

Wei’s research has focused on GISciences, spatial analysis and optimization, with the aim of supporting policy and decision making in transportation, public health, environment sustainability, community resilience, crime, and policing issues. Her work has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals in GIScience, geography, and urban planning. In addition, she was the recipient of 2020 Emerging Scholar Award from the Spatial Analysis and Modeling (SAM) specialty group of the AAG, 2012 Benjamin Stevens Fellowship from the Regional Science Association International, and Best Student Paper awards from the SAM specialty group of the AAG, and the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science. Her research has been funded by various agencies such as the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, U.S. Department of Transportation, and National Academies of Sciences.


  • 2020  R. Wei, T.H. Grubesic and W. Kang. “Spatiotemporal Patterns of Alcohol Outlets and Violence: A Spatially Heterogeneous Markov Chain Analysis”, Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, in press.
    2019  R. Wei, N. C. Clay, M. Dai and R. Hsia. “Injury-Based Geographic Access to Trauma Centers”, Academic Emergency Medicine, vol. 26(2), pp. 192-204.
    2016  T. H. Grubesic, R. Wei, A. T. Murray and W. A. Pridemore “Comparative Approaches for Assessing Access to Alcohol Outlets: Exploring the Utility of a Gravity Potential Approach”, Population Health Metrics, vol. 14, pp.
    2014  S. J. Rey, A. T. Murray, T. H. Grubesic, E. A. Mack, R. Wei, L. Anselin and M. L. Griffin. “Sex Offender Residential Movement Patterns: A Markov Chain Analysis”, The Professional Geographer, vol. 66(1), pp. 102-111.


This research center is supported by the School of Public Policy. To view the SPP staff directory, click here.

Richard Alvarado


Richard Alvarado

Chief Deputy Warden (Retired), California Institution for Men 


Annika Anderson


Annika Anderson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Sociology, Executive Director of Project Rebound, CSU San Bernardino


Jason Anderson


The Honorable Jason Anderson 

District Attorney, San Bernardino County


Sabrina Cervantes


The Honorable Sabrina Cervantes

Assembly Member, 58th District


 Shannon Dicus

Sheriff Shannon Dicus 

Sheriff-Coroner, San Bernardino County


 Larry Gonzalez

Larry Gonzalez 

Chief of Police, City of Riverside


 Steve Harmon

Steven Harmon 

Public Defender, Riverside County  


Mike Hestrin


The Honorable Mike Hestrin

District Attorney, Riverside County


Johslyn Pulliam


The Honorable Joshlyn Pulliam

Riverside County Superior Court


Assemblymember James Ramos


The Honorable James C. Ramos

Assembly Member, 40th District


Tracy Reece


Tracy Reece

Chief Probation Officer, San Bernardino County


Richard Roth


The Honorable Richard D. Roth

California’s 31st Senate District


Emma Smith


The Honorable Emma Smith

Riverside County Superior Court Judge


Thomas Sone


Thomas Sone

Public Defender, San Bernardino County


Wright Cropped Headshot


Christopher Wright

Chief Probation Officer, Riverside County 


Glenn Yabuno


The Honorable Glenn Yabuno

San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge