Maddie McPherson

Maddie McPherson

Maddie McPherson

Crime policy, corrections & penology, legal mercy, clemency, justice organizations

Madeline "Maddie" McPherson is a fifth-year doctoral student in Criminology, Law, & Society, where she has conducted research for the Early Justice Strategies Lab, the Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!), and the Center for Evidence Based Crime Policy (CEBCP). She currently serves as the Vice President of Research, Policy, & Innovation for Phronema Justice Strategies, L.L.C., a national management consulting firm that offers research, training, and technical assistance to public safety agencies, particularly as it relates to management and staffing issues in corrections.

Previously, Madeline served the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conducting high-level policy and legislative analyses. Her career focus is to develop and evaluate state- and national-level public safety programs that serve a dual purpose to reduce recidivism and to support people who are justice-involved.

In her research, Maddie is interested in the intersection of justice practices and the experiences of people. She investigates the role of normative concepts, such as legal mercy and redemption, in the American criminal legal system. The goal of Maddie's mixed methods research is to integrate the qualitative experiences of justice stakeholders with quantitative evidence to better inform crime policy and legislation.

Selected Publications

Rudes, D. S., Mackey, B. J., & McPherson, M. (2022). Reentry and Reintegration in Virginia, US. In The Palgrave Handbook of Global Rehabilitation in Criminal Justice (pp. 667-686). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

McPherson, M., & Rudes, D. S. (2022). Carceral goals: the role of corrections officers in organizational goal attainment. In Research Handbook on the Sociology of Organizations (pp. 73-86). Edward Elgar Publishing.

Lowder, E. M., Foudray, C. M. A., & McPherson, M. (2022). Proxy assessments and early pretrial release: Effects on criminal case and recidivism outcomes. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. Advance online publication.

Grants and Fellowships

Fall 2020 Awardee — Derek Eaves Student Research Grant, International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services (IAFMHS)

Courses Taught

CRIM 307: Social Inequality, Crime & Justice 

CRIM 402: Punishment & Corrections 


B.A. Psychology and Sociology, Duquesne University (2013)

M.S. Justice, Law, & Criminology, American University (2015)


Recent Presentations

Smith, L., Foudray, C., McPherson, M., Rudes, D., & Magnuson, S. (2022, March). The “middle manager squeeze”: How navigating gray area policy leads to rule-bending & breaking. Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Meeting. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Rudes, D., Mackey, B., & McPherson, M. (2022, February). Reentry and Reintegration in Virginia, U.SA. February 2022, Western Society of Criminology. Honolulu, Hawaii.

McPherson, M., Foudray, C., Lowder, E., & Rodriguez, A. (2021, November). Use of Sanctions, Incentives, and Graduated Supervision in a Pretrial Supervision Setting. American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting. Chicago, Illinois.

In the Media

11/29/22 — CityBiz, Madeline McPherson Joins Firm Headed by Former PA Corrections Secretary John Wetzel


12/19/17 —  Chronicle of Higher Education, "Can a College Education Solve the Nation's Prison Crisis?"