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Cynthia Golembeski

JD Candidate at Rutgers Law School and PhD Candidate, The New School

About Cynthia

Golembeski’s research focuses on how policy, law, and management operate at the intersection of criminal legal and health systems. Overarching themes in her writings include citizen state relations amidst bureaucratic disentitlement, administrative burdens, and political determinants of health, economic, and social outcomes. Golembeski serves as an Assistant Instructor with Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs and teaches in prisons. She serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Correctional Health Care, Public Integrity, World Medical & Health Policy, and Harvard Review of Public Health.

In the News

"Charitable Bail Reduces Harms as Part of Criminal Legal Excessive Cash Bail Is a Defining Civil Rights and Racial Justice Issue.," Cynthia Golembeski (with Shayla Wilson, Matthew Bakko, and Twyla Carter), Justice, Medium, November 2, 2022.
"What Are Bail Funds? Two Social Policy Experts Explain," Cynthia Golembeski (with Matthew Bakko), The Conversation, July 1, 2022.
"Climate Change and Incarceration People in Prison Are Vulnerable to Extreme Temperatures, Diseases, and Displacement," Cynthia Golembeski (with Andrea Armstrong, Ans Irfan, Michael Mendez, and Nicholas Shapiro), Environment, Think Global Health, April 29, 2022.
"National Security Risks and the American Weak Link," Cynthia Golembeski (with Ans Irfan, Jonathan Williams, and Ashley Bieniek-Tobasco), Council on Foreign Relations Think Global Health, October 14, 2020.
"COVID-19 Shows Us That Prison Healthcare Is in Dire Need of Reform," Cynthia Golembeski (with Ans Irfan, Brie Williams, and Homer Venters), London School of Economics US Centre’s American Politics and Policy Blog, June 1, 2020.


"U.S. Bail, Pretrial Justice, and Charitable Bail Organizations: Strengthening Social Equity and Advancing Politics and Public Ethics of Care" (with Matthew Bakko, Shayla Wilson, and Twyla Carter). Public Integrity (2022).

Provides background on bail and pretrial justice policies and politics; outlines evidence of related consequences; describes select reform efforts and philanthropic tools, including the charitable bail organization The Bail Project; and contextualizes bail and pretrial justice within a public values framework, which centers social equity and incorporates critical race theory alongside politics and public ethics of care.

"Carceral and Climate Crises and Health Inequities: A Call for Greater Transparency, Accountability, and Human Rights Protections" (with Kimberly R. Dong and Ans Irfan). World Medical and Health Policy (2021).

Discusses how policymakers and health professionals can advance understanding and mitigate present and anticipated public health threats by increasing transparency, accountability, and human rights protections with an emphasis on decarceration and decarbonization.

"Food Insecurity and Collateral Consequences Among Justice-Involved Individuals Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic" (with Ans Irfan and Kimberly Dong). World Medical and Health Policy (2020).

Elaborates on how bans and eligibility modifications for people with felony drug convictions limit SNAP benefit access. Discusses how food insecurity, recidivism, and poor mental and physical health outcomes are positively associated with such bans. 

"Pandemic of Racism: Public Health Implications of Political Misinformation" (with Ans Irfan and Ashley Bieniek-Tobasco). Harvard Public Health Review (2020).

Discusses how misinformation amplified by political elites can lead to an increase in racism and discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities and other populations who experience vulnerabilities.

"COVID-19 and Women in the US Criminal Legal System" (with Carolyn Sufrin, Brie Williams, Precious Bedell, Sherry Glied, Ingrid Binswanger, Donna Hylton, Tyler Winkelman, and Jaimie Meyer). Harvard Law School Petrie-Flom Center Bill of Health (2020).

Explores how health and economic inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately harm women, and particularly women of color, involved in the criminal legal system.

"Improving Health Equity for Women Involved in the Criminal Legal System" (with Carolyn B. Sufrin, Brie Williams, Precious S. Bedell, Sherry A. Glied, Ingrid A. Binswanger, Donna Hylton, Tyler N. A. Winkelman, and Jaimie P. Meyer). Women’s Health Issues 30, no. 5 (2020): 313-319.

Discusses how over 1,000,000 women are under supervision of the U.S. criminal legal system. Outlines how with increased numbers in prison there are direct or indirect health effects impacting families and communities due to these increases.

"Book Review of Life and Death in Rikers Island" Public Integrity (2020).

Discusses how "In Life and Death in Rikers Island," Homer Venters, the former chief medical officer for New York City’s jails, performs a social autopsy of the “inaccessible island colony of nine jails on Rikers Island” and reveals the “deadly and long-lasting health risks of jail.” Addresses the analysis of the health risks of incarceration, with attention toward politics, policy, and power, necessitating a moral imperative to the problems of healthcare within the context of mass incarceration.