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News Spotlight on UD Alumna

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Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice
UD Alumna Christine A. Saum, Ph.D.

Christine A. Saum is an Associate Professor in the Department of Law and Justice Studies at Rowan University and currently serves as the Associate Chair. Dr. Saum received her Ph.D. at the University of Delaware (UD) where she worked as an Associate Scientist in the Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies and taught as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. Dr. Saum has extensive experience managing grants, conducting program evaluations, collaborating with corrections and courts officials, and working with drug-involved offender populations in both the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

Dr. Saum first became interested in the field of criminal justice after taking the Introduction to Criminal Justice course as an undecided freshman at UD. After becoming a criminal justice major and sociology minor, she was able to work on a professor's research project that was studying juror decision making in various trials. After graduation, Dr. Saum continued her interest in this area and attended the University of Florida to earn her Master's degree. There she served as a teaching and research assistant at the Center for Studies in Criminology and Law and wrote her thesis on jury nullification and battered women. After graduation, Dr. Saum came back to UD to work at the Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies (CDAS; now the Center for Drug and Health Studies) as a Research Associate studying the relationship between drugs and crime. There she worked on several grants gaining experience collecting and analyzing data and presenting and publishing papers. She will always remember her first project where she interviewed 100 inmates in a Wilmington, DE prison about the incidence of risky behaviors such as drug use and sexual activity behind bars.

While working at CDAS, Dr. Saum applied to the doctoral program in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at UD. She wrote her dissertation on violent offenders in drug courts which had become an area of interest after attending an ONDCP meeting in Washington, D.C. and hearing Attorney General Janet Reno speak about the promise of these new problem-solving courts. After earning her Ph.D., Dr. Saum continued working an Associate Scientist at CDAS and began teaching criminal justice classes at UD, which she did for several years. After leaving Delaware, she continued to work for CDAS as a consultant on a national NIDA study of offender treatment. 

Dr. Saum has worked on a variety of research projects, previously serving as Co-Principal Investigator for multi-year federally-funded studies of drug courts and studies of offenders in both prison and community-based treatment programs. Dr. Saum has also worked on interventions involving reentry strategies for women and juvenile offenders and HIV prevention in corrections. She has served as a consultant on a national drug court MIS project and is currently evaluating the effectiveness of an alcohol treatment court for repeat DUI offenders in Wisconsin.

Most recently Dr. Saum is part of a research team at Rowan and Temple universities that is evaluating the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania's Mental Health Court as part of the 21st Century Cures Act which is the first time a Federal problem-solving court has been acknowledged in Congressional legislation. The outcome of this evaluation will have national significance for the future of these specialty courts that assist offenders with mental health and substance abuse issues who otherwise may be more likely to reoffend when prosecuted in the traditional court system absent sufficient services that address their disorders.

Dr. Saum has published in the areas of parolee recidivism, women offenders and drug use, corrections-based treatment, drug policy and the drug legalization debate, drug courts, DUI, mental health and teen courts, sex in prison, and date-rape drugs and has co-authored a book on cocaine-exposed infants. Her teaching interests include corrections, violence, criminal justice policy analysis, specialty courts, prisoner reentry and the drugs-crime relationship. She also enjoys teaching introductory criminal justice classes to educate students about the complex and controversial issues in the field which peaked her interest years before.

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