Mary Ellen Mastrorilli

Mary Ellen MastrorilliAssociate Professor of the Practice of Criminal Justice and Chair ad interim of Applied Social Sciences

PhD, Northeastern University
MPA, Suffolk University
BA, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Dr. Mastrorilli’s research interests focus on female offenders, community corrections, and law and society. She holds over twenty-five years of experience in positions ranging from correction officer to prison administrator. She is the recipient of the Correctional Association of Massachusetts’ Professional Excellence Award, as well as the Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award given by the National Center for Women and Policing. Mastrorilli teaches courses in criminal justice and sociology.

  • MET SO 100 – Principles of Sociology
  • MET CJ 701 – Crime and Punishment
  • MET CJ 703 – Research Methods
  • MET CJ 711 – Criminal Justice Policy and Planning
  • MET CJ 831 – Criminal Justice Administration
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • The Female Offender

Publications (peer reviewed)

“With Pell Grants Rising: A Review of the Contemporary Empirical Literature on Prison Post-Secondary Education.” Journal of Correctional Education. Forthcoming September 2016.

Mastrorilli, M., Norton-Hawk, M., and Usher, N. “Once a Criminal Always a Criminal? A 15-Year Analysis of Recidivism among Female Prisoners in Massachusetts.” Géneros—Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies 4, no. 3 (2015): 784–805.

Mastrorilli, M., Norton-Hawk, M., and Rousseau, D. “How Far Have We Come? The Gluecks’ Recommendations from 500 Delinquent Women.” Federal Probation 78, no. 1 (June 2014).

Ransom, G., and Mastrorilli, M. “The Massachusetts Boot Camp: Inmate Anecdotes.” The Prison Journal 73 (1993): 307–318.

Publications (non-peer reviewed)

Mastrorilli, M., Matesanz, J., and Rousseau, D. “Understanding the impact of a liberal arts education in corrections.” Corrections Today, July/August 2016.

How to Help the Growing Female Prison Population.” Scientific American MIND Guest Blog. April 7, 2015.

Norton-Hawk, M., Usher, N., and Mastrorilli, M. E. “Alternatives to High Cost Incarceration for Prostitution-Related Offenses.” Offenders Programs Report 18, no. 5 (2015): 65–68(4).

“Putting the Care into Care, Custody, and Control.” Corrections Today, September/October 2014.

Norton-Hawk, M., Sered, S., and Mastrorilli, M. E. “History Repeats Itself: The Life Course of Women Released from Prison.” Offender Programs Report 17, no. 3 (2013): 35–36(2).

Women in Transition (VDM Verlag, 2009).

Book Reviews

Book review of Women and (In)Justice: The Civil and Common Law Effects on Women’s Lives by Sheryl Grana. Bimonthly Review of Law Books 14, no. 2.

Conference Presentations

Mastrorilli, M., Norton-Hawk, M., and Sered, S. “Why Recidivism Among Massachusetts Women Is Higher Today than It Was In The Past.” Invited Speaker, Massachusetts State House, Joint Committee on Families, Women, and Children, 2014.

Cronin, S., Rousseau, D., and Mastrorilli, M. “The Role of Neighborhood Context in Shaping Media Attention to Homicide Incidents.” 2013 American Society of Criminology Conference, Atlanta, Ga., 2013

“Promoting Academic Integrity in the Classroom.” Invited Speaker, Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching, 2013.

Norton-Hawk, M., and Mastrorilli, M. “Where Are They Now? Women’s Life Trajectories Post Incarceration.” 2012 American Society of Criminology Conference, Chicago, Ill., 2012

“Prison and Personal Connection: A Contradiction in Terms?” 2012 Law and Society International Conference. Honolulu, Hawaii, 2012.

“Female Offenders: Part Victim, Part Criminal.” Invited Speaker, Guest Lecturer Series in Forensic Nursing. Boston College School of Nursing, 2011.

“Should Prisons be Relational: An Impact Evaluation of a Minimum Security Prison for Female Offenders.” Workshop presented at the National Conference on Adult and Juvenile Female Offenders, Jackson, Miss., October 10-14, 2009.

“Women and Reentry: Look Who’s Coming Back to the Neighborhood.” 12th National Workshop on Adult and Juvenile Female Offenders, Baltimore, Md., 2007.

“The Social Control of Women: Rethinking the Incarceration of the Female Offender.” Student research conference at the University of Massachusetts/Boston—Social Inequalities in a New Century, 2006.

“Gender-Responsive Intermediate Sanctions: Do They Work?” 11th National Workshop on Adult &Juvenile Female Offenders. Bloomington, Minn., 2005.

Policy Briefs/White Papers/Essays

“POV: Obama’s Ban on Juvenile Solitary Confinement: More Than Rules Needed to Solve Problem.” BU Today (March 14, 2016).

“Replacing ‘Hard Cells’ with ‘Soft Cells’: A Hard Sell for Criminal Justice Policy Makers.” Submitted to Alternatives to Incarceration Advisory Council (2011). Available at SSRN: or

“Women in Transition: Application of Relational Theory to the Evaluation of a Minimum Security Prison for Female Offenders.” Research monograph, 2008.

What advice do you have for new students?

Two pieces of advice: Don’t hesitate to reach out to faculty for academic support and guidance; and work hard to engage fully in the educational experience that Boston University has to offer. If you do, you will leave with a solid education, professional connections, and even some rewarding friendships and lasting memories.