Megan B. Welsh

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Public Administration, San Diego State University

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About Megan

Welsh's research focuses on how people navigate social welfare and criminal-legal systems, both as clients of these systems and as people working within them. Overarching themes in Welsh's writings include issues of racial and gender justice and health equity.


In the News

"Universal Bathroom Access in San Diego Could Help Save Lives. Here’s How.," Megan B. Welsh (with Jennifer Kate Felner and Mitchelle Woodson), Opinion, The San Diego Union Tribune, June 7, 2021.
"Our Research Showed Racial Disparities in San Diego Police Stops. Our Report was Shelved," Megan B. Welsh, opinion, San Diego Times, June 17, 2020.
Megan B. Welsh quoted on work done by women on parole and probation to rebuild families by Priscilla A. Ocen, "Awakening to a Mass-Supervision Crisis" The Atlantic, December 26, 2019.


"Complex Colorblindness in Police Processes and Practices" (with Joshua Chanin and Stuart Henry). Social Problems (2020).

Finds that officers’ accounts excuse, justify, or otherwise negate the role of race in routine police work, yet officers’ thoughts and actions are based on racialized and, at times, dehumanizing narratives about people and communities of color.

"Collisions of the Personal and the Professional: How Frontline Welfare Workers Manage Carceral Citizens" (with Kristina Leyva). Affilia 35, no. 1 (February 2020): 17-33.

Finds for criminalized people, particularly those who have been recently incarcerated, applying for and maintaining public assistance—cash aid and/or food assistance—is an immediate and crucial element of survival. Examines how criminalized clients are understood by welfare workers in one large, densely populated California county.

"How Formerly Incarcerated Women Confront the Limits of Caring and the Burdens of Control amid California’s Carceral Realignment" Feminist Criminology 14, no. 1 (January 2019): 89-114.

Examines changes to how community supervision (parole and probation) is administered in California under AB 109 / Public Safety Realignment, and particularly, how these changes have been experienced by women on each form of supervision.

"“You’re an Embarrassment”: Un-Housed People’s Understandings of Policing in Downtown San Diego " (with Mounah Abdel-Samad). Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law & Society 19, no. 3 (2018): 33-49.

Presents findings from an ongoing study of the use of police to manage the issue of street homelessness in downtown San Diego, California. Draws on data collected over the past two years through brief, structured interviews (n=195), focus groups (n=23), and in-depth, semi-structured interviews (n=20) with un-housed people about their experiences with law enforcement. Shows how un-housed people make sense of and attempt to maneuver within a system of policing that attempts to erase homelessness from the urban landscape and that consequently functions to further deepen the marginalization of this already vulnerable population.