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Sandra Susan Smith Photo
Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice
Assistant: Edward Walker

Sandra Susan Smith is the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice and Faculty Director of the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management. She is also the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute. Her areas of interest include urban poverty and joblessness, social capital and social networks, and, more recently, the front end of criminal case processing, with a particular interest in the short- and long-term consequences of pretrial detention and diversion. In each of these areas, racial inequality and its root causes are core areas of concern.

Smith's publications include Lone Pursuit: Distrust and Defensive Individualism among the Black Poor; The Criminal Justice System as a Labor Market Institution, co-edited with Jonathan Simon; and the forthcoming The Cultural Logics of Job-Matching Assistance. Her research on these topics has also been published in academic journals, including the American Journal of SociologyThe Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, the Annual Review of SociologyThe DuBois Review, Ethnic and Racial StudiesSocial Problems, Social Science ResearchThe Sociological Quarterly, and Work and Occupations.

Smith serves or has recently served on a number of advisory boards, including WorkRise, Leadership Board for Research-to-Action Collaborative on Workers, Jobs, and Economic Mobility; Family Self-Sufficiency Research Technical Working Group of the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation; Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Pretrial Research Advisory Board; Y Combinator Research’s Basic Income Project Advisory Board; National Advisory Board, Misdemeanor Justice Project; University of California Criminal Justice & Health Consortium; and the Executive Session on Community Corrections, Harvard Kennedy School.

Smith’s service also extends to the discipline of sociology. She has been a Council member of the American Sociological Association, Chair of the ASA Section, Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility, and Deputy Editor of the American Sociological Review, where she also served as editorial board member. She was also on the editorial or consulting boards of the American Journal of SociologyContexts Magazine, and Sociological Science.

Smith, who holds an MA and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in history-sociology from Columbia University, has been a visiting scholar at Stanford's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and at the Russell Sage Foundation.

Transparent Engagement

Harvard Kennedy School is proud of its energetic involvement in the world. To better understand how to solve public problems by improving policy and leadership, we engage directly with policymakers, public leaders, governments, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit businesses whose activities affect those problems. However, we recognize that such engagement can raise questions about perceived and potential conflicts of interest, so we disclose publicly the key professional activities of our faculty outside the Kennedy School.

Outside Professional Activities For Sandra Susan Smith

Professor Smith has recently begun her 2-year tenure as member of the Leadership Board for WorkRise, which is run out of the Urban Institute. Board members meet virtually and in person several times each year and are expected to reach consensus on research priorities in order to inform the Collaborative's programming and focus; inform decision-making on research investments designed to make progress in filling those agreed-upon knoweldge gaps; and mobilize additional resources, both public and private. WorkRise offers an annual honorarium for the work that board members do, but it does not support Smith's research.

Professor Smith is a member of the Family Self-Sufficiency Research Technical Working Group (TWG) for the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE). Working group members meet twice yearly an dprovide input on current OPRE-sponsored research and help to identify opportunities for future family self-sufficiency research. A small honorarium is attached for meeting attendance, but the organization does not support her research.

Professor Smith had briefly been a member of the Pretrial Research Advisory Board of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. On that board, she provided guidance on the Foundation's pretrial and PSA research agenda, on revisions and refinements to the Foundation's pretrial and PSA research agenda; and advised and assisted the Foundation with project development and review of deliverables for awarded research. LJAF offered an annual honorarium and has been a generous supported of Professor Smith's research.

Professor Smith is on the National Advisory Board of the Data Collaborative for Justice (formerly the Misdemeanor Justice Project). The primary objectives of the DCJ Advisory Board is to establish a research agenda focused on better understanding the phenomenon surrounding the enforcement of low-level offenses. Professor Smith does not receive payment for her service on this board, and nor does it support her research.


Assistant: Edward Walker


Social Policy
Fairness & Justice
Gender, Race & Identity
Poverty, Inequality & Opportunity

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