I received my PhD from the University of Frankfurt/Germany in 2009.
I deploy extensive qualitative research to reveal the intricacies of settings that are difficult both to access and understand: prisons, police organizations, and marginalized street and newcomer communities. Most importantly, I conduct rigorous research designed to understand criminal justice institutions through the perspectives of both those who work in them and those who encounter them, particularly those marginalized by factors related to race, gender, social class, and addictions. A key feature of my research and its success involves fostering strong collaborations with Indigenous stakeholders, wider community groups, government officials, and prison and police stakeholders across the country to confront the challenges of the criminal justice system and to translate my knowledge into best practices and create positive system changes.
I am the Co-Director of the University of Alberta Prison Project (twitter @theUAPP)- Canada's largest mixed-methods study on life experiences in Canadian prisons. To date, we have interviewed over 600 prisoners and over 170 staff in provincial and federal prisons. While our data speaks to various topics, most prominently, I am interested in general experiences of prison life, the victim-offender overlap, and how the opioid crisis is playing out behind bars and changing dynamics in prison.
I am the Co-editor of the Oxford University Press Handbook series in Criminology (with Michael Tonry) and also serve on the discipline's flag journal (Criminology) advisory board. I am an Executive Member of the Canadian Research Network of Terrorism, Security, and Society (TSAS) and act as its Publication Editor. I am also on the advisory board for immigration related questions to the German government.
My monograph "Unwanted - Muslim Immigrants, Dignity, and Drug Dealing", published by Oxford University Press in 2014 is based on five years of ethnographic research on second-generation, male, Muslim immigrants who specialized in drug trafficking in Frankfurt/Germany. It has received numerous reviews in key academic journals.
My second book, edited with Dr. Michael Tonry, is the Oxford Handbook on Ethnicity, Crime and Immigration, published with Oxford University Press in 2014.
I won the Martha Cook Piper Research Award in 2016, which recognizes two faculty members across the university in the early stage of their careers that enjoy a reputation for original research and show outstanding promise as researchers. I also won the Faculty of Arts Research Award on the Assistant Professor Level in 2016. My ethnography on drug dealers has won the 2nd place in the Deutscher Studienpreis Koerberstiftung competition in 2009 - the highest national award for social sciences dissertations in Germany. An article based on this research "What else should I do?" published in the Journal of Drug Issues in 2007, was awarded the Honory Mention of the Migration Section of the American Sociological Association (http://jod.sagepub.com/content/37/3/673.abstract).