Shawn Brushway

Shawn Bushway, PhD

Specialization: Criminal Justice

Department of Public Administration & Policy

321B Milne Hall | 518-591-8738

Curriculum Vitae | Office Hours

About Professor Bushway

Shawn Bushway is a Professor of Public Administration and Policy at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy with a courtesy appointment in the School of Criminal Justice.  He is a graduate of the Heinz School of Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. He received the University at Albany (SUNY) Award for Excellence in Research in 2013, and the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 2014.  He is a member of New York State's Permanent Commission on Sentencing Reform, and his primary research interests  involve criminal justice policy, the desistance process, and the effect of background check policies on employment for individuals with criminal history records.

He is an associate editor of the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A and the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, and he is on the editorial board for four other journals, including Criminology and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.   He has presented work at the numerous conferences, including the Institute of Research on Poverty Summer Workshop, the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management ( APPAM), Conference on Empirical Legal Studies (CELS), the American Society of Criminology (ASC), the Population Association of America (PAA),  American Psychology and Law Association (APLSA), and the NBER economics and crime summer workshop.   Shawn is currently involved in two major funded projects.

The first project is entitled "State-Mandated Criminal Background Employment Screening: A High Stakes Window into the Desistance Process".  Together with co-PI Megan Kurlchek, Shawn is studying the background check process done by the Department of Health for people who work in nursing homes for the state of New York.  This project evolved from earlier research by Shawn and Megan (together with colleague Robert Brame) which shows that individuals with a criminal history record who do not reoffend  eventually have the same level of risk as non-offenders.  This work was cited by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when the commission revised their guidance to employers in 2012.  This project combines Shawn's interest in desistance, reentry and employment as a factor in the desistance process.  The project funds two graduate students.

The second project, entitled "Understanding Guilty Pleas" is a Research Coordination Network funded by the National Science Foundation.  Together with co-PIs Allison Redlich, Brian Johnson and Anne Piehl, and School of Criminal Justice Assistant Dean, Diana Mancini,   Shawn is leading a three year network designed to develop new research on guilty pleas.  The vast majority (97%) of people in the U.S. who are convicted in the court system enter guilty pleas, but very little research has been conducted on the plea bargaining process.  Shawn is particularly interested in finding new sources of data that follow people from arrest to conviction.  He is also interested in developing new theoretical models of how actors in the criminal justice system make decisions about guilty pleas.   The project will fund one graduate student, and several interdisciplinary conferences about plea bargaining.

Selected Publications

  • Redlich, Allison; Shawn Bushway and Robert Norris (2016).”Plea decision-making by Attorneys and Judges”Journal of Experimental Criminology Online first
  • Kim, Jaeok; Shawn Bushway, and Hui-shien Tsao (2016). “Identifying Classes of Explanations for the Crime Drop: Period and Cohort Explanations in New York State” Journal of Quantitative Criminology Online First
  • Pickett, Justin T.; Thomas Loughran and Shawn Bushway (2016).  “Consequences of Legal Risk Communication for Sanction Perception Updating and White-Collar Criminality,” Journal of Experimental Criminology 12:1:75-104.
  • Bushway, Shawn and Sarah Tahamont. (2016). “Modeling Long-term Criminal Careers: What Happened to the Variability?” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 53:372-391.
  • Porter, Lauren; Shawn Bushway, Hui-shien Tsao and Herbert Smith (2016). “Has the U.S. Prison Boom Changed the Age Distribution of the Prison Population?” Criminology 54:1:30-55.
  • Paternoster, Raymond; Ronet Bachman, Shawn Bushway, Erin Kerrison, and Daniel O’Connell. (2015). “Human Agency and Explanations of Criminal Desistance: Arguments for a Rational Choice Theory,” Journal of Developmental and Life-course Criminology 1:209-235.
  • Pickett, Justin T., and Shawn D. Bushway. (2015) “Dispositional Sources of Sanction Perceptions: Emotionality, Cognitive Style, Intolerance of Ambiguity, and Self-Efficacy.” Law and Human Behavior. 39:6:624-40.
  • Tahamont, Sarah; Shi Yan, Shawn Bushway and Jing Liu (2015). “Pathways to Prison in New York State.”Criminology and Public Policy 14:3.1-23.
  • Pickett, Justin; Thomas Loughran, and Shawn Bushway (2015). “On the Measurement and Properties of Ambiguity in Probabilistic Expectations.” Sociological Methods and Research 44:4:636-676. 
  • Bushway, Shawn; Allison Redlich, and Robert Norris (2014). “An Explicit Test of Plea Bargaining in the “Shadow of the Trial”. Criminology 52:4:723-754.
  • Brame, Robert; Shawn Bushway, Raymond Paternoster and Michael Turner (2014) “Demographic Patterns of Cumulative Arrest Prevalence by Ages 18 and 23.”  Crime and Delinquency 60:3:471-486.
  • Bushway, Shawn and Emily Owens (2013), “Framing Punishment: Incarceration, Recommended Sentences, and Recidivism.”  Journal of Law and Economics 56:2:301-331.