Ashley Nellis, Ph.D.

Co-Director of Research

Ashley Nellis, Ph.D. is a nationally recognized expert in the study of life sentences and long-term imprisonment. Her recent research examines the prevalence of life imprisonment, emerging adults sentenced to life, elderly persons with life sentences, and the low recidivism rates among those released from long-term imprisonment.

She is the coauthor with Marc Mauer of The Meaning of Life: The Case for Abolishing Life Sentences (The New Press, 2018) which has received praise from the Los Angeles Review of BooksKirkus, and Publishers Weekly, and has been featured on National Public Radio. Her research is cited widely because of its unique contribution to the field of criminology. Dr. Nellis is also the author of A Return to Justice: Rethinking our Approach to Juveniles in the System (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) which chronicles America’s historical treatment of youth in the justice system and presses for a reorientation of juvenile justice practices toward the original vision. Her 2012 national survey of young people sentenced to life without parole has led to a greater understanding of reduced culpability for juveniles who commit serious crime. Her work has appeared in many scholarly journals and law reviews, she regularly appears in the media, and she presents regularly before numerous professional and academic audiences. Her published research is available at Google Scholar.