Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice
Office Hours: Wednesdays, 11AM - 1PM
Phone: (212) 776-6995
Shenique S. Davis (Thomas), Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) Borough of Manhattan Community College. She, also, serves as a co-chair of the Race, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee and member of the Expedited Review Committee of the CUNY Institutional Review Board. Most recently, she earned the Eastern Sociological Society’s 2021 Barbara R. Walters Community College Faculty Award, which recognizes community college faculty who are actively engaged in scholarly work. Dr. Davis is committed to advancing social and racial justice, translating research to practice and policy, and teaching and learning beyond the classroom.
Prior to joining CUNY, she served as a Senior Policy Analyst with the Council of State Governments Justice Center where she managed projects centered on the improved application of the risk and needs framework in corrections and developed training curricula and resources to support a more informed approach of reentry strategies, specifically for adults with sexual offense convictions. Her research sits within a criminology and human development framework, centralizes the lived experiences of Black women and examines the social consequences of mass imprisonment efforts on individuals, family systems, and communities. Shenique has taught courses for the New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons Consortium (NJ-STEP) and previously worked as a research assistant professor at the Rutgers University Evidence-Based Institute for Justice Policy Research. She has conducted related work on incarcerated individuals’ familial ties, prison visitation, and reentry, most recently presenting her research at the University of Oxford. Dr. Davis received her Ph.D. from Rutgers University, School of Criminal Justice and earned her BA in Psychology from Hampton University.
Centralizing the lived experiences of Black women, social consequences of mass incarceration, race-related stress, transformative justice, public policy, critical criminology, qualitative research methods, program evaluation.
2011 Doctor of Philosophy | Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Criminal Justice
2003 Master of Arts | Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Criminal Justice
2001 Bachelor of Arts | Psychology, Hampton University
- Criminal Justice is the field that studies formal social control. This course covers the processing of crime by agents of formal control (police, courts, and institutional corrections). The general focus is on understanding the complex interactions of structures and agents in the system. Of particular concern are discretion and diversity in law enforcement, due process in criminal courts, and the punishment-rehabilitation dichotomy in corrections. The ultimate goal is to provide a critical foundation that prepares students for the challenges of a career in criminal justice.
- This course examines the history of criminal punishment in Western society, emphasizing the United States. The course highlights social forces (political, religious, economic, and technological) shaping punishment; reviews common theories (deterrence, retribution, rehabilitation, incapacitation, and restoration) and examines how theory relates to policy. The course takes a critical approach to correctional systems and policies by considering disparities and structural inequalities. Empirical evidence is used to examine contemporary crises of punishment (i.e., mass incarceration, school-to-prison pipeline) as well as prison culture, staffing, privatization, and prisoner civil rights. Alternatives to traditional punishment, especially restorative justice models, are explored. Prerequisite: CRJ 101
- This course takes a critical approach to the study of crime and justice in urban settings. Course materials examine contemporary crime-related issues that affect urban communities within a historical and sociological context. The course highlights the intersections of deviant behavior and the criminal justice system within the structures of class, race, gender, and power inequalities. Topics explored may include racial profiling, juvenile delinquency, media representations of crime, policing, the war on drugs, and prisoner re-entry.
Prerequisite: CRJ 101 and CRJ 102
Research and Projects
Professional Staff Congress (PSC)-CUNY Grant. Titled, “Betrayal of a promise: Black women’s narratives on reckoning with anti-blackness in academia” ($3,400).
CUNY Open Educational Resources Program, Tax Levy Award. Interactive Lessons of Critical Issues in Justice. In coordination with Satenik Margaryan, Ph.D., Michelle Ronda, Ph.D., Shirley Leyro, Ph.D., and Liza Chowdhury, Pd.D. Award: $10,400 [January 2021-June 2021]
Betrayal of a promise: Black women’s narratives on reckoning with anti-blackness in academia, Co-PI with Dr. Vivian C. Smith, Cabrini University.
(in press) Thomas-Davis, S., Muhammad, B., and Smith, V. On the frontlines: Stressors of Black women caring for children of incarcerated parents. In The Black Women’s Wellness Series, Resilience: Black Women and Public Health, New York: SUNY Press.
Thomas-Davis, S. (2020). Cloaked in liminality: Negotiating roles, identity, and emotional labor within and between prison walls and academia. In J. Schlosser (Ed.), Prison Stories: Women Scholars’ Experiences Doing Research Behind Bars. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books (Rowman & Littlefield).
Thomas-Davis, S. (August 2020). Don’t rely on Black faculty to do the anti-racist work. Inside Higher Education.
Arditti, J. A., Christian, J. C., and Thomas, S. S. (2020). Mass incarceration and Black families. In A. James (Ed.), Black families: A systems approach. San Diego, CA: Cognella.
Thomas, S. S. and Christian, J. C. (2018) Betwixt and Between: Incarcerated men, familial ties and social visibility. In R. Condry and P. Smith (Eds.), Prisons, punishment and the family: Towards a new sociology of punishment. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Thomas, S. S., Smith, V. C., and Muhammad, B. (2016). Mass incarceration: Perpetuating the ‘habits of survival’ and race identities of Black women caregivers to children of incarcerated parents. Journal of Criminal Justice and Law Review – Revolutionary Criminology.
Hanson, R. K., Bourgon, G., McGrath, R. J., Kroner, D., D’Amora, D. A., Thomas, S. S., Tavarez, L. (2017) A Five-Level Risk and Needs System: Maximizing Assessment Results in Corrections through the Development of a Common Language. New York: The Council of State Governments Justice Center.
Thomas, S. S. (2014). Risk Assessment and reentry. OJP Diagnostic Center: Data-Driven Crime Solutions https://www.ojpdiagnosticcenter.org/blog/risk-assessment-and-reentry.
Ragusa Salerno, L., Ostermann, M., and Thomas, S. S. (2013). The utility of the LSI-R for sex offenders. Criminal Justice & Behavior, 40(9), 952-969.
Christian, J. & Thomas, S. S. (2009). Examining the intersections of race, gender, and mass imprisonment. Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 7(1), 69-84.
Christian, J., Mellow, J. and Thomas, S. S. (2006). Social and economic implications of family connections to prisoners. Journal of Criminal Justice, 34(4), 443-452.
Honors, Awards and Affiliations
2021 Eastern Sociological Society Barbara R. Walters Community College Faculty Award
Eastern Sociological Society [ESS]
American Sociological Association [ASA]
American Society of Criminology [ASC]
Black Women’s Studies Association [BWSA]
Division of People on Color and Crime [DPCC-ASC]
The Marshall Project, Donating Member