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College of Social Work

Faculty and Staff

Research Expertise

  • Mental health of incarcerated persons

  • Impact of incarceration on prisoners and their families

  • Violence, victimization pathways to crime and incarceration of girls and women


Professor Dana DeHart joined the faculty of the College of Social Work in 1997. Following graduate studies in experimental social psychology at the University of Louisville Department of Psychology, she served as a postdoctoral research fellow and visiting assistant professor in the University of South Carolina Department of Psychology.

Recently, Dr. DeHart was principal investigator for a multiyear project titled, “Higher Education Partnership on Correctional Mental Health.” Funded by the United States Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, the program establishes an online suite of media to train correctional staff to respond to the mental health needs of persons who are incarcerated. Dr. DeHart also served as principal investigator on a U.S. Department of Justice study of the impact of incarceration on prisoners and their families. This research builds on Dr. DeHart’s extensive experience leading funded projects on topics, including mental health of prisoners, gendered pathways to crime, and provision of services to survivors of crime.      

Dr. DeHart’s publications focus on violence and victimization, particularly pathways to crime and the incarceration of women and girls. She has recently co-authored a book as well as chapters and scientific journal articles on topics including the role of substance abuse and mental health in women's and girls' crime and delinquency, the impact of incarceration on prisoners and their families, and developing a taxonomy of persons who solicit children online. Her publications have been featured in scholarly journals, such as Violence Against WomenPsychology of Women Quarterly, Psychiatric Services, Criminal Justice & Behavior, and Prevention Science.

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