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Jennifer Cobbina - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Jennifer Cobbina

Associate Professor | Michigan State University


Expertise is in topics on race, crime, and policing; protest movements; and prisoner reentry







Jennifer Cobbina - Women in the Correctional System



Jennifer E. Cobbina is an associate professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. Her primary research focuses on the issue of corrections, prisoner reentry and the understanding of recidivism and desistance among recently released offenders. Her second primary research area is centered on examining how race, gender and social context impact victimization risks among minority youth.

Industry Expertise (5)

Human Resources





Areas of Expertise (4)

Race, Crime, and Policing

Gender and Crime

Race and Crime

Prisoner Re-entry

Accomplishments (1)

Becky Tatum Excellence Award.

2016 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Minorities and Women Section

Education (3)

University of Missouri: Ph.D., Criminology and Criminal Justice 2009

Dissertation: From Prison to Home: Women’s Pathways In and Out of Crime

University of Missouri: M.A., Criminology and Criminal Justice 2006

Indiana University: B.A., Criminal Justice and Sociology 2004

Affiliations (1)

  • American Society of Criminology

News (2)

Jennifer Cobbina: Correctional Officer Training

MSU Today  


Jennifer Cobbina is an associate professor in the School of Criminal Justice within the College of Social Science. Her primary research focuses on the issue of corrections, prisoner re-entry, recidivism and desistance from crime...

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Blacks Believe Police View Them as 'Suspects First, Civilians Second'

MSU Today  


Cobbina’s study, in the Journal of Crime and Justice, is one of the first to investigate whether and to what extent African-Americans associate people of color to crime, which is known as racial typification. “The protestors did not view police brutality and discrimination as an isolated phenomenon,” said Cobbina, associate professor of criminal justice. “Rather, they believed that it’s reflective of broader social inequality and discrimination in society at large.”...

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Journal Articles (4)

Ferguson Residents and Protesters Views about Police Perceptions of Race and Crime

Berkeley Journal of Sociology

Jennifer E. Cobbina

2016 While many have proposed that hiring more Black officers is an effective way to alleviate longstanding tension between police and African American citizens, this article shows that a shared racial background does not always guarantee positive police perceptions among Ferguson residents and protesters.

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Perceptions of race, crime, and policing among Ferguson protesters

Journal of Crime and Justice

Jennifer E. Cobbina, Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Kimberly Bender

2016 Research demonstrates that race is commonly associated with perceptions of crime and thus, crime committed by people of color is often overestimated by the public, particularly white Americans. Studies also find that race is a predictor of citizens’ attitudes towards and experiences with the police. However, studies have not yet explored if and how minorities associate crime with people of color. Drawing from interviews with 81 men and women, this study explores the extent to which protesters from Ferguson, Missouri racially typify crime and their perceptions of how the police view and treat people who are black compared to people who are white. Results revealed that most respondents did not associate people of color with crime but believed that the police did. Additionally, the negative perceptions participants believed police to have were connected with broader social inequalities. Findings from this study reinforce the importance of police legitimacy.

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It's not only for the money: An analysis of adolescent versus adult entry into street prostitution

Sociological Inquiry

Jennifer E. Cobbina Sharon S. Oselin

2011 Numerous studies examine the causal factors of entrance into prostitution and find economic marginalization, substance addiction, and interpersonal networks are common reasons women enter the trade. However, we know less about the role that age of onset plays in shaping female pathways into prostitution. Here, we build from insights into previous research by analyzing not only entry pathways but also how age categories are linked to time spent in the trade and whether the length of time in prostitution exacts a greater “toll” on women. Drawing from the feminist and age of onset literatures, we analyze 40 in‐depth interviews with female street prostitutes from five U.S. cities. Our results underscore the importance of age as an organizing feature of women’s pathways into prostitution and the potential associated consequences of working in this trade.

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Men, women, and postrelease offending: An examination of the nature of the link between relational ties and recidivism

Crime & Delinquency

Jennifer E. Cobbina, Beth M. Huebner, Mark T. Berg

2010 Numerous studies have examined the postrelease behaviors of men and women, highlighting the importance of social bonds in understanding positive reentry. However, there is evidence that the effect of social bonds on recidivism may vary by gender. Furthermore, research suggests that an individual’s propensity for criminality, including prior criminal history, may hinder the development and maintenance of positive social bonds and subsequently affect reentry transitions. The current study extends previous research in two ways. First, the authors examine gender differences in the sources of recidivism and focus on the role of social ties and criminal history in shaping recidivism risk. Next, the authors consider if the influence of parolees’ ties to their parents and intimate partners is conditioned by their criminal history. The results reinforce the importance of social ties, particularly to parents, for parolees; however, the results also suggest that male relationships with parents and intimate partners may be influenced by prior criminal involvement.

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