Jill McCorkel, Ph.D.

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Jill A. McCorkel is an award-winning Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Villanova University. She holds faculty affiliations in Africana Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Irish Studies. Dr. McCorkel is one of the nation’s leading experts on gender and mass incarceration. Her research investigates race and gender disparities in punishment, the criminalization of survivors of gender violence, prison profiteering, and conditions of confinement inside women’s prisons. Her work appears in leading scientific journals as well as in popular media, and has been featured in a variety of news outlets including Boston Globe, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Public Radio International


Her critically acclaimed first book, Breaking Women: Gender, Race, and the New Politics of Imprisonment (New York University Press), is a harrowing, first-person account of a women’s prison during the era of the War on Drugs. The British Journal of Criminology described it as “essential reading” for anyone interested in justice, human rights, and the politics of incarceration. 

Dr. McCorkel is the founder and executive director of the Philadelphia Justice Project for Women and Girls, a non-profit research and advocacy organization dedicated to ending mass incarceration and gender violence. The organization led the advocacy effort to free India Spellman, an innocent woman who was wrongfully convicted as a teenager and sentenced to life in prison. On February 9, 2023  India became the first woman to be exonerated  in Philadelphia in more than a generation.


Dr. McCorkel is Co-Chair of the 2023 Annual Meetings of the American Society of Criminology. The meetings will be held from November  15-18 in Philadelphia.

Jill McCorkel
Photo by Albert Yee

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Sylvia Boykin Jill McCorkel Muncy Prison


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