Lageson studies how technology changes law, criminal justice, media on crime, and systems of American punishment. Her current research examines the growth of online crime data that remains publicly available, creating new forms of “digital punishment.” Sarah has worked on reentry research and policy since 2007, when she joined the Americorps VISTA Minnesota Prisoner Reentry Program, and later as Research Coordinator for the Council on Crime and Justice in Minneapolis, MN. She has led several evaluations of prison-based educational and service programming, including a federally-funded family reunification program and state-funded parenting education programs. Her academic focus in sociology focuses on how criminal justice contact impacts work, relationships, and participation in community, civic and social life.
In the News
Asks how law should govern access to criminal history on the internet. Reveals how both parties construct legality in the absence of positive legal restrictions. Shows how current data practices reinforce structural inequalities already present in criminal justice institutions in a profoundly public manner, leaving website subjects with little recourse and an inescapable digital trail.
Describes how the internet has become a fertile space for the expression of public anxieties about social problems and a digital prison that can discourage the labeled from engaging with the processes of reintegration.
Draws on interviews and fieldwork with people attempting to expunge and legally seal their criminal records. Explores how online versions of these records impact family relationships.
Measures the effect of low-level records and race on employment, through an experimental field audit.
Studies a random selection of job application criminal record questions with an analysis of how different groups are “shut out” of employment due to how questions are asked.
Analyses the digital criminal history landscape, detailing the tension between more information for public safety and privacy rights for those accused of crimes.
Incorporates interviews with employers on how they grapple with applicants’ criminal records, paired with empirical observations of their hiring behavior.