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Katherine Durante

Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Utah

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About Katherine

Dr. Durante's research focuses on incarceration with an emphasis on 2 areas: 1) racial and ethnic inequality and 2) the impacts on families. She takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying these and related topics. Dr. Durante is currently a member of the Racial Equity in Policing Commission in Salt Lake City.

In the News

Opinion: "Death Penalty Is Costly, Ineffective," Katherine Durante, Las Vegas Sun, March 26, 2021.
Opinion: "Locking People in Cages and Family Separation Is Nothing New in Nevada Copy," Katherine Durante, The Nevada Independent, July 24, 2018.


"Institutional Relational Maintenance Barriers and Perceptions of Relationship Quality Among Women With Incarcerated Partners" (with Eman Tadros and Jasmine Rene Phillips Meertins). Crime & Delinquency 70, no. 3 (2024): 788-811.

Examines the relationship between prison facility barriers to maintaining relationships and perceptions of relationship quality, focusing on women whose male romantic partners are incarcerated. Findings show that high costs of phone calls and difficulties with in-person visitation negatively affect how women perceive the quality of their romantic relationships. Suggests that reducing barriers to communication and contact can help strengthen couples’ relationships.

"Marijuana Legalization and Racial Disparities in Prison Incarceration in Colorado and Washington State: A Quasi-experimental Study" (with Guangzhen Wu, Heather C. Melton, and Ariel L. Roddy). Journal of Experimental Criminology (Forthcoming).

Examines the impact of recreational marijuana legalization on Black-White disparities in overall prison incarceration and drug-related prison incarceration in Colorado and Washington State. Findings show that legalization in these states does not lead to significant reductions in Black-White disparities in prison incarceration rates or drug-related incarceration rates compared to non-legalized states. Concludes that recreational marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington State has had a limited impact on lessening racial inequality in imprisonment.

"Supportive Communication Skills as a Protective Factor Among Couples Experiencing Incarceration" (with Eman Tadros, Candis Braxton, and Melanie Barbini). Criminal Justice and Behavior 50, no. 11 (2023): 1643-1660.

Investigates how communication skills impact relationship quality in heterosexual couples where the man is incarcerated and the woman is not. Findings show that couples who are regularly able to work out their differences have a lower relative risk of drifting apart in their relationship, whereas couples who frequently have heated arguments have increased risks of both growing closer and drifting apart. Suggests that prison programs should incorporate communication skills training for couples.

"Mental Health, Perceived Consensus of Coparenting, and Physical Health Among Incarcerated Fathers and Their Nonincarcerated, Romantic Partners." (with Eman Tadros, Tasselli McKay, Melanie Barbini, and Brandon Hollie). Families, Systems, & Health 40, no. 2 (2022): 210–224.

Examines the relationship between self-reported mental health, perceived consensus of coparenting, and physical health among incarcerated fathers and their coparenting partners. Results show that there is a significant link between mental and physical health for each dyad member (incarcerated male and a nonincarcerated female). Additionally, women whose partners reported a higher perceived consensus of coparenting also reported better physical health. Discusses implications for marriage and family therapy, criminal justice, health, and human services policy.

"County-Level Context and Sentence Lengths for Black, Latinx, and White Individuals Sentenced to Prison: A Multi-Level Assessment" Criminal Justice Policy Review 32, no. 9 (2021): 915-937.

Discusses how Black and Latinx individuals receive longer sentences than their White counterparts, even after controlling for relevant variables. Elaborates on how Black individuals are sentenced longer than their White counterparts in counties with larger shares of Republican voters. Indicates that race and ethnicity continue to be salient predictors of punishment.

"Coparenting, Negative Educational Outcomes, and Familial Instability in Justice-involved Families" (with Eman Tadros). International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology (2021).

Examines if a more cohesive coparenting relationship is associated with fewer adverse childhood experience for children with incarcerated fathers. Finds that children of parents who frequently argue about the child are more likely to have ever been suspended or expelled from school and are more likely to have ever had to live outside of the home.

" Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Prison Admissions Across Counties: An Evaluation of Racial/Ethnic Threat, Socioeconomic Inequality, and Political Climate Explanations" Race and Justice 10, no. 2 (2017): 176-202.

Finds that Black–White prison admission disparities are lower in jurisdictions with greater shares of Black citizens; however, the reverse is true for Latino–White inequality. Mentions political conservatism being associated with less inequality. Shows counties with more income and employment parity have smaller disparities in sentencing.