Wozniak

Kevin Wozniak

Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Massachusetts Boston
Areas of Expertise:
  • Media & Public Opinion
  • Criminal Justice
  • Race & Ethnicity

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About Kevin

Wozniak studies the politics of punishment and criminal justice with a particular focus on public opinion. He teaches classes about the criminal justice system, mass incarceration, social policy, and social science research methods. Wozniak is knowledgeable about the American public’s attitudes toward the criminal justice system, as well as the ways in which public opinion affects public policy.  His most recent work explores how alternative ways of framing criminal justice policies affects people’s policy preferences. He is also a former Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association. During his fellowship, he worked as a legislative aid for Representative Robert C. “Bobby” Scott of the Third District of Virginia. He covered juvenile justice, gun control, and elementary and secondary education policy for Representative Scott.

Podcast

Publications

"Perceptions of Prison and Punitive Attitudes: A Test of the Penal Escalation Hypothesis" Criminal Justice Review 41, no. 3 (2016): 352-371.

Finds that people who perceive life in prison to be easy or insufficiently-harsh were also more likely to express 1) support for other harsh punishments and 2) opposition to prisoner reentry and crime prevention programs; Findings suggest that political rhetoric decrying “country club prisons” may harshen people’s attitudes toward criminal justice globally.

"Race, Justice, Policing, and the 2016 American Presidential Election" (with Kevin Drakulich, Devon Johnson, and John Hagan). Du Bois Review (2016).

Finds that people who perceived the police to be biased against African Americans were significantly more likely to express support for Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump; Also finds that racist attitudes predicted support for Trump, and including racism in the analysis absorbed most of the relationship between perceptions of police bias and candidate preference.

"Public Opinion about Gun Control Post-Sandy Hook" Criminal Justice Policy Review 28, no. 3 (2017): 255-278.

Analyzes data from a national public opinion poll conducted four months after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School; Finds that a slim majority of Americans favored a semiautomatic weapon ban and proposals to make gun control laws stricter, and a large majority supported a federal background check law.

In the News

Guest to discuss Gun Control Protests on BBC World News, Kevin Wozniak, March 26, 2018.
Kevin Wozniak quoted on gun control in the U.S. in Dylan Matthews, "More Americans Say Guns are the Country’s Top Issue than Ever Have Before" Vox, March 29, 2018.
Kevin Wozniak quoted on gun control in the United States in Dario Mizrahi, "Estados Unidos y Las Armas: Razones y Cifras de una Pasión Incontrolable a pesar de Las Tragedias" Infobae, October 7, 2017.
"American Public Opinion about Gun Control Remained Polarized and Politicized in the Wake of the Sandy Hook Mass Shooting," Kevin Wozniak, London School of Economics and Political Science Blog, May 28, 2015.