• Director, Utah Criminal Justice Center
  • Associate Professor, College Of Social Work
(801) 581-4379

Research Summary

My scholarly agenda reflects a commitment to producing research evidence that informs correctional policy and practice at the intersection of criminology, forensic social work/psychology, and gender studies. Specifically, my scholarship largely focuses on improving existing knowledge in the areas of (1) offending risk, need, and strength assessment, particularly among justice-involved women, (2) correctional rehabilitation policies and practices, and (3) gendered pathways to crime.


  • B.A., Psychology, William Jewell College
  • M.A., Forensic Psychology, Castleton University
  • Ph.D., Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati


My academic training is as an interdisciplinary criminologist, primarily working in the areas of corrections, mental health, and gender. I feel I have a responsibility and professional obligation to share my knowledge with not just academic peers, but also practitioners and the many stakeholders in position to have direct impact on people’s lives in the criminal and juvenile legal systems. Moreover, I seek to amplify the voices of individuals ensnared in public systems that have oftentimes failed them. These commitments are reflected in the research opportunities I choose to pursue, the approach I take with my students, and the community engagement partnerships I develop. 

As the Director of the Utah Criminal Justice Center, our team provides organizations with research, training, and technical assistance grounded in scientific evidence to prevent and reduce crime and victimization among all communities, with an understanding that approaches must be tailored to the contextual needs of organizations and the diverse populations they serve.

Much of my work investigating justice-involved women’s distinct pathways and needs involves an assessment instrument I helped create, the Women’s Risk Needs Assessment (WRNA). I am the Research Director for the WRNA, which is the only peer-reviewed, validated risk and strength assessment instrument specifically designed by and for system-involved women. The Utah Criminal Justice Center is currently the central business, research, training, and development center for the suite of WRNA instruments. 

As a result of my scholarship. I am often sought as an expert witness among human rights organizations on the issue of incarcerated women, such as testifying to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. I take my public servant role seriously, and believe in the ethos of public criminology, illustrated by taking on such roles as a Commissioner for the Nevada Sentencing Commission. Additionally, I frequently work alongside correctional industry leaders in both government and non-profit sectors to improve outcomes on behalf of system-involved women and their families.


Other Profile Data

In 2024, my work on behalf of incarcerated women was recognized through the University of Utah Presidential Societal Impact Scholar Award, which honors faculty who have significantly contributed to public engagement and impact in non-academic environments to transform society.

I also have an established record of academic leadership by serving as the Editor-in-Chief of a major academic journal in the criminology discipline for five years, Criminal Justice and Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.801). The journal achieved a 1st place ranking in 2019 on Google Scholar in the Criminology, Criminal Law, and Policing section.

In 2014, I delivered a TEDx talk behind the walls of the Washington Corrections Center for Women titled, "Judging Societies by Women's Prisons" alongside incarcerated women who also shared their stories during the TEDx. For the full slate of inside and outside speakers during the event, see this YouTube site.


Selected Works

  • Salisbury, E. J. & Van Voorhis, P. (2009). Gendered pathways: A quantitative investigation of women probationers’ paths to incarceration. Criminal Justice and Behavior. Vol. 36, 541-566. Published, 01/2009.
  • Salisbury, E. J., Sundt, J. & Boppre, B. (2019). Mapping the implementation landscape: Assessing the systemic capacity of statewide community corrections agencies to deliver evidence-based practices. Corrections: Policy, Practice, and Research. Vol. 4, 19-38. Published, 11/2019.
  • Trejbalová, T. & Salisbury, E. J. (2022). Dying and misbehaving on death row: A theoretical explanation of death row misconduct. Corrections: Policy, Practice, and Research. Published, 07/2022.
  • Sundt, J., Salisbury, E. J. & Harmon, M. G. (2016). Is downsizing prisons dangerous? The effect of California’s Realignment Act on public safety. Criminology & Public Policy. Vol. 15, 315-341. Published, 12/2016.
  • Brennan, T., Breitenbach, M., Dieterich, W., Salisbury, E. J. & Van Voorhis, P. (2012). Women’s pathways to serious and habitual crime: A person centered analysis incorporating gender responsive factors. Criminal Justice and Behavior. Vol. 39, 1481-1508. Published, 01/2012.
  • Salisbury, E. J. (2015). Program integrity and the principles of gender-responsive interventions: Assessing the context for sustainable change. Criminology & Public Policy. Vol. 14, 329-338. Published, 12/2015.
  • Belisle, L. & Salisbury, E. J. (2021). Starting with girls and their resilience in mind: Reconsidering risk/needs assessments with system-involved girls. Criminal Justice and Behavior. Published, 12/01/2021.