Top WCSU faculty discuss recent correctional research
Panel focuses on education and rehabilitation for family and youth

DANBURY, CONN. Western Connecticut State University will present “Scholars in Action: Interdisciplinary Research Connections Crime and Punishment,” a panel featuring recent scholarship by WCSU faculty. Held on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at 6 p.m., the discussion will be in Room 218 of the Classroom Building on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

The panelists are Dr. Jessica Eckstein, associate professor, Communication and Media Arts; Dr. Gabriel Lomas, associate professor, Education and Educational Psychology; and Assistant Professor Dr. Kim Marino and Associate Professor Dr. Divya Sharma, both of the Division of Justice and Law Administration. Dr. Missy Alexander, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, will moderate.

Eckstein will discuss her work with family violence victims. With research focusing on individuals in interpersonal relationships and relational communication, Eckstein applies her work to community organizations, health practitioners and classroom settings. “I operate on the assumption that individuals shape society,” Eckstein said. “By looking at people one-on-one, I seek to enable social change, even if ‘only’ in the minds of individuals in classrooms and communities.”

Lomas will focus on two of his studies that look at the welfare of deaf and hard of hearing youth, who experience abuse and juvenile justice facility placement at higher rates than their nondisabled peers. “The trajectory of one’s life is largely determined by early childhood experiences,” Lomas said. “I find it no surprise that deaf children experience abuse at higher rates than their nondisabled peers and are also overrepresented in the adult prison population.”

Marino and Sharma will speak about their evaluation of the Youth Development Unit program at Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown. “Correctional management of security risk groups poses significant challenges for correctional staff,” Marino said. Sharma explained that their research “describes one approach to custody and programming for young gang-affiliated offenders.”

Marino’s research focuses on the correctional management of criminal offenders. She has conducted program evaluations for the Westchester County Probation Department in New York and currently works with the Connecticut Department of Corrections to evaluate the youth gang unit at Garner Correctional.

Sharma researches informal banking systems, money laundering and terror finance, immigration, ethnic identity and globalization, collecting data in India, Kenya and the United States. She has published journal articles and book chapters and submitted technical reports. She explores visual criminology, including photo essays and documentaries.

RSVP for the Crime and Punishment panel discussion by email at

For more information, call the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.


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