Faculty - Corrections

Kristie Blevins, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Image Kristie Blevins
Education: Ph.D. University of Cincinnati, Criminal Justice
Email: Kristie.Blevins@eku.edu
Phone: 859-622-6869

Research/Academic Interests:

  • Corrections
  • The occupational reactions of criminal justice employees
  • Crime prevention
  • She has also teamed with local law enforcement agencies to study theft, robberies, and prostitution

Dr. Blevins’ work can be found in several journals including: 

  • Journal of Offender Rehabilitation
  • Criminal Justice Policy Review
  • International Journal of Police Science and Management

She has also co-authored and co-edited chapters in: 

  • Taking Stock: The Status of Criminological Theory and Transformative Justice: Critical and Peacemaking Themes Influenced by Richard Quinney

Associations/Affiliations/Work History:

  • American Society of Criminology
  • Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
  • Southern Criminal Justice Association

Preston Elrod, Ph.D.
Image Preston Elrod
Education: Ph.D. University of Cincinnati, Criminal Justice
Phone: 859-622-1160


  • Former co-director of a model school-based delinquency reduction program
  • Former juvenile justice court intake officer
  • Former supervisor of a juvenile probation department  
  • Served as principal investigator, providing program development and evaluation services, to the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice and numerous delinquency prevention projects around the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Charles Fields, Ph.D.
Image Charles Fields
Phone: 859-622-6555
Research/Academic Interests:

  • Comparative state laws

Dr. Fields’ work can be found in in several journals including: 

  • The Prison Journal
  • Journal of Criminal Justice and Economic Business Review

He has also authored and/or edited books, monographs and journals including: 

  • The Dialogue
  • American Journal of Criminal Justice
  • Controversial Issues in Corrections
  • Modern Police Organizations

Victor Kappeler, Ph.D.
Dean of the College of Justice and Safety And Foundation Professor
Victor Kappeler Profile Image
Education: Ph.D. Sam Houston State University, Criminal Justice
Phone: 859-622-3565

Research/Academic Interests:

  • Crime and political economy
  • Social construction of crime
  • Ideology and crime, crime and popular culture
  • Police deviance and corruption


  • 2006 Cabinet for Justice and Public Safety Award for Academic Excellence
  • 2005 Outstanding Criminal Justice Alumnus Award from Sam Houston State University
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Criminology’s Division on Critical Criminology for “sustained and distinguished scholarship, teaching, and/or service in the field of critical criminology”

Pete Kraska, Ph.D.
Professor and Graduate Program Director
Image Pete Kraska
Email: Pete.Kraska@eku.edu
Phone: 859-622-1980

Research/Academic Interests:

  • Making theoretical sense of the emergence of underground cage-fighting
  • The trend to criminalize risky and negligent behaviors as an adaptation to late-modern social conditions
  • A continuation of study into the blurring distinction between criminal justice and the military in the wars on drugs and terrorism.

Dr. Kraska’s work can be found in a number of leading journals including: 

  • Social Problems, Justice Quarterly
  • Policing and Society

He has also authored seven books including: 

  • Criminal Justice and Criminology Research Methods, Theorizing Criminal Justice: Eight Essential Orientations
  • Militarizing The American Criminal Justice System: The Changing Roles of the Armed Forces and Police

Dr. Kraska’s work has been featured by:

  • The Economist
  • The New York Times
  • National Public Radio
  • Peter Jennings’s World News Tonight

Betsy Matthews, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Image Betsy Matthews  
Education: Ph.D. University of Cincinnati, Criminal Justice
Phone: 859-622-8113

Research/Academic Interests:

  • Community corrections
  • Correctional rehabilitation


  • Former child care worker in a residential treatment facility for behaviorally disordered adolescents
  • Former adult probation officer
  • Served on American Probation and Parole Association, serving as a research associate on federally funded grant projects

Kevin Minor, Ph.D.
Image Kevin Minor
Education: B.S. Indiana State University, M.S. Emporia State University, Ph.D. Western Michigan University, Sociology/criminology
Phone: 859-622-2240

Research/Academic Interests:

  • Institutional and community corrections
  • Theories of crime and punishment
  • Juvenile delinquency/justice
  • Evaluation and applied research

Dr. Minor has served as a consultant to several organizations and agencies, including:

  • National Institute of Corrections
  • Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
  • U.S. Bureau of Prisons

Gary Potter, Ph.D.
Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Justice and Safety
Image Gary Potter
Education: Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University, Community Systems Planning and Development with an emphasis in Criminal Justice
Phone: 859-622-7884

Research/Academic Interests:

  • Transnational organized crime
  • Human trafficking and the sex industry
  • Drug trafficking by teenagers in rural Kentucky

Dr. Potter’s work can be found in several journals including: 

  • Crime, Law and Social Change
  • Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Policy Review

He has also authored eight books including: 

  • Drugs in Society
  • Criminal Organizations
  • Organized Crime
  • Controversies in White Collar Crime

Judah Schept, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Image Judah Schept 
Education: Ph.D. Indiana University

Research/Academic Interests:

  • The prison industrial complex
  • Social movements and resistance
  • Ethnography
  • Cultural criminology
  • Transformative justice
  • Law and society

Irina Soderstrom, Ph.D.
Image Irina Soderstrom
Education: B.A. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Ph.D. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Educational Psychology/Statistics and Measurement 
Phone: 859-622-1156

Research/Academic Interests:

  • Statistics
  • Research methods
  • Research seminar 
  • Program evaluation
  • Evaluative research onparole programs, boot camps, correctional industries, teen courts and school safety

James Wells, Ph.D.
Image James Wells
Education: Ph.D. Georgia State University, Research, Measurement, and Statistics
Phone: 859-622-1158

Research/Academic Interests:

  • Justice and safety agency related program evaluation research
  • The improvement of criminal justice training
  • Prison Rape Legislation Act

Dr. Wells’ work can be found in several journals including: 

  • Crime and Delinquency
  • Journal of Juvenile Justice & Detention Services
  • Federal Probation
  • Journal of School Violence.


  • Director of the Center for Criminal Justice Education and Research (CCJER) in EKU’s College of Justice & Safety

Contact us to learn more!