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Carla Cesaroni, PhD - University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Oshawa, ON, CA

Carla Cesaroni, PhD Carla Cesaroni, PhD

Associate Professor and Assistant Dean, Graduate Studies, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities | University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Oshawa, ON, CANADA

Leading international authority on youth justice, and highly sought expert witness


Carla Cesaroni, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). Since joining UOIT in 2005, she has held the positions of Graduate Program director, associate professor and assistant professor. Additionally, she maintains an adjunct faculty position in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the University of Toronto (U of T), as well as associate researcher in the Scottish Centre for Crime & Justice Research at the University of Glasgow/Edinburgh, Scotland.

A revered international authority on youth justice, Dr. Cesaroni is frequently called upon to provide credible testimony within the public court system, and to give expert counsel to key policy makers and stakeholder groups including the Policy Implementation Directorate Programs Branch of the Department of Justice Canada, and the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Ontario. Published reports on her recommendations in the high-profile Ashley Smith Inquest; and on the Use of Segregated Isolation of Youth in Custody in the Province of Ontario in 2012 are playing an important role in shaping legislation in Canada’s Justice System.

She credits her incredible mentor Dr. Tony Doob at U of T’s Centre of Criminology and one of the world’s most cited scholars as her inspiration for pursuing her path in research and demonstrating what a great teacher can do for students. She began her distinguished career in 2002 as a lecturer in the Department of Criminology at the University of Toronto, and the Department of Sociology at Queen’s University.

Dr. Cesaroni obtained her Doctorate in Philosophy from the Centre of Criminology at U of T in Toronto, Ontario in 2005. She received her Master of Arts in Criminology from U of T in 1999, a Certificate (Honours) in Criminology from U of T in 1998, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in International Relations, and Italian from U of T in 1986.

Dr. Cesaroni is a member of the American Society of Criminology, American Psychology and Law Society, and the Society for Research on Adolescence.

Industry Expertise (7)




Law Enforcement

Public Policy


Legal Services

Areas of Expertise (7)


Youth in Custody

Youth Justice

Offender Reintegration

Male Young Offenders

Female Young Offenders

Peer-On-Peer Violence in Youth Custody Facilities

Accomplishments (4)

Expert Witness, Ashley Smith Inquest (professional)


At the request of the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, on November 12, 2013, Dr. Cesaroni appeared as an expert witness at the Ontario coroner’s inquest into the death of Ashley Smith, a 19-year-old woman who died in 2007 in a segregation cell. Among the 104 recommendations handed down by the jury, many of Dr. Cesaroni’s recommendations were affirmed. A report she co-authored on the inquest is available at www.provincialadvocate.on.ca.

Assistant Dean, Graduate Studies, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, UOIT (professional)


Dr. Cesaroni has served on dozens of internal university committees including the FSSH Leadership Team Committee, Graduate Program Directors Committee, Graduate Studies Committee, Hiring Committee and Tenure Committee.

Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, UOIT (professional)


Dr. Cesaroni teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Punishment and Society, The Prison Experience, and Youth Crime and Violence. She has received numerous teaching and research awards at UOIT including a prestigious Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Award in 2010, the second such award of her career.

Board of Directors, Family Education Resource Network (FERN) (professional)


Since 2009, Dr. Cesaroni has lent her expertise to FERN, a not-for-profit, professional and family driven resource and education centre located in York Region, Ontario. FERN is dedicated to providing support, materials, knowledge and guidance to families and educators.

Education (4)

University of Toronto: PhD, Philosophy, Centre of Criminology 2005

University of Toronto: MA, Criminology 1999

University of Toronto: Certificate, Criminology 1998


University of Toronto: BA, International Relations, Italian 1986


Affiliations (4)

  • American Society of Criminology
  • American Psychology and Law Society
  • Society for Research on Adolscence
  • Family Education Resource Network

Languages (2)

  • English
  • Italian

Event Appearances (8)

The Adjustment of Incarcerated Young Adults (18 – 21) in Adult Facilites

Annual Meeting of The American Society of Criminology  San Francisco, California


Public Opinion Regarding Youth, Social Media, and Suicide

Annual Meeting of The American Society of Criminology  San Francisco, California


Policing Cyber-bullying: What does the Public Think?

Annual Meeting of The American Society of Criminology  San Francisco, California


Understanding the Adjustment of Incarcerated Boys and Girls: The Importance of Institutional Culture

Canadian Youth Justice Conference. llR Healthcare Series  Toronto, Ontario


The Intersection of Race, Class and Gender: Aboriginal Girls in Pre-Trial Detention

The International Institute of Special Needs Offenders and Policy Research (Canada)  Ottawa, Ontario


A Comparative Study of Adolescent Females and Males in Pre-trial Detention

Psychology & Law International, Interdisciplinary Conference  San Juan, Puerto Rico


The Experiences of Adolescent Males in Secure Detention

Society for Research in Child Development  Montreal, Quebec


Youths’ Perception of Rights and Fair Treatment in Detention

Psychology & Law International, Interdisciplinary Conference  Miami, Florida


Research Grants (7)

Indigenous Youth: Issues Currently Impacting Strategies to Address Overrepresentation in the Youth Justice System

Youth Justice Canada (Department of Justice), Standard Grant $9949.30


“Aboriginal Peoples” is a collective name for all of the original peoples of Canada and their descendants (National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO). Section 35 of the Constitution specifies that Aboriginal Peoples in Canada consists of three groups; First Nations, Inuit and Metis (NAHO). It should be noted however, that the term “Indigenous” (meaning native to the area), is the term used by the United Nations, for Aboriginal Peoples in Canada and is increasingly used by Aboriginal scholars and advocates to describe Aboriginal Peoples collectively, inclusively and to recognize the place of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada’s late- colonial era (NAHO).

Meeting the Needs of Aboriginal Justice-Involved Youth in the Context of Community Sentencing

SSHRC Insight Grant $190660


This five-year research project examines effective ways to promote rehabilitation for Aboriginal justice-involved youth.

A Comparative Studt of Incarcerated Young Adults in Scotland and Canada

SSHRC Insight Grant $97282


A four-year, cross-national study of incarcerated young adults between 18 and 24 years of age in Scotland and Canada.

Working Effectively with Justice Involved and High Risk Youth Program

Tape Studies $7000


Program Director for a series of 12 modules on various aspects of working with high risk, justice involved youth including the history of youth justice in Canada, ethical issues, consent and confidentiality, assessment, mental health issues and addictions, evaluation of programming.

Report to the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children & Youth Concerning the Death of Ashley Smith

Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth $12515


Principal investigator for research outlining the adjustment issues of incarcerated young people including the impact of segregation.

Therapeutic Interventions for Seriously Violent Youth: An Update of Scientific Literature

Government of Canada, Department of Justice, Policy Implementation Directorate, Programs Branch $9734


Principal investigator for a research summary of the most recent work on interventions for violent youth, in particular youth involved in homicides.

The Use of Segregation on Incarcerated Youth

Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth $5500


Consultant on the research literature and data available on the use of isolated segregation, and the impact segregation has on incarcerated youth.

Articles (6)

Depictions of Youth Homicide: Films Set in Rural Environments Journal of Rural Studies


This paper, Depictions of Youth Homicide: Films Set in Rural Environments, reviews portrayals of youth homicide within six films that are set in rural environs. It examines depictions concerning the environment or setting of the film, including how media may explore notions of formal and informal social control as a means by which to explain some aspects of rural crime.

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The Role of Fairness in the Adjustment of Adolescent Boys to Pretrial Detention The Prison Journal


This article explores one key aspect of staff/prisoner relations—the role of fairness—as a predictor of young people’s adjustment to pre-trial detention. Participants were one hundred thirty-seven 13- to 19-year-old youth held in one of five secure youth detention centers in southern Ontario, Canada.

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Book Chapter: Putting Youthful Offending and Victimization into Context, Diversity, Crime & Justice in Canada, Second Edition Oxford University Press, Toronto


In the compelling second edition of Diversity, Crime, and Justice in Canada, hate-crime specialist Barbara Perry brings together 17 of the country's leading scholars to address issues of inequality as they intersect with crime and social justice. Through a balance of theoretical and practical discussions, students will discover how collective identities-not just of race, class, and gender, but of religion, ability, sexuality, and age-play a crucial part in determining the nature of an individual's encounter with the criminal justice system.

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The Self and the ‘Selfie’: Cyberbullying Theory and the Structure of Late Modernity Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research


This paper addresses the lack of conceptual and theoretical consensus around cyberbullying and problems associated with overreliance on mainstream criminological thinking to explain this phenomenon.

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The Importance of Institutional Culture to the Adjustment of Incarcerated Youth and Young Adults Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice


In this article, we discuss key findings from research that focuses on the experiences and adjustment of youth in custody and pre-trial detention. Problems with the overuse of segregation for both adolescents and young adults are debated. Complemented by theory and research on emerging adulthood – the developmental period following adolescence – we highlight the need for attention to the experiences of young adults in prison.

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Bullying Enters the 21st Century? Turning a Critical Eye to Cyberbullying Research Youth Justice


Current concerns around cyberbullying emphasize child-victims and have prompted calls for understanding and reaction to an alleged new type of child-offender. Though there is little doubt that cyberbullying is a phenomenon with potential for real harm, there remain a number of critical gaps in the cyberbullying literature. This article has two primary goals: a) to confront some methodological issues surrounding the study of cyberbullying; and b) to draw attention to the potential of established criminological theories of delinquency for explaining cyberbullying. *This article was featured in Anderson Cooper’s CNN Special: The Bully Effect in March, 2013.

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