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Sarah Shannon

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Meigs Professor
Director, Criminal Justice Studies Program

Sarah K.S. Shannon joined the UGA Sociology Department in 2013 after receiving her PhD (and MSW) from the University of Minnesota.  Sarah's research focuses on systems of criminal punishment and their effects on social life. Her interdisciplinary research has been published in top journals in several fields including sociology, criminology, public health, social work, and geography.

Sarah is also an award-winning teacher, having received recognition for excellence in undergraduate instruction, research mentoring, creative teaching, and service-learning. She proudly facilitates UGA's first-ever Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program course in partnership with the Clarke County Jail (SOCI 4470S).


As a publicly engaged scholar, Sarah’s research has been cited in several high profile media outlets including The New York Times, The Economist,  and the Washington Post. Prior to her graduate work, Sarah worked in the non-profit sector. As a result, she cares about doing research that matters for academics, policy makers, and ordinary citizens.

  • PhD, Sociology, University of Minnesota, 2013
  • MSW, University of Minnesota, 2007
  • BA, Sociology, University of Iowa
Selected Publications:
  • Shannon, Sarah, Ryan Larson, Ian Kennedy, Kate K. O’Neill, and Alexes Harris. Forthcoming. “Income Extraction via the Criminal Legal System: A Community-level Perspective.” Socius.
  • Paik, Leslie, Andrea Guiffre, Alexis Harris, and Sarah Shannon. 2023. “The Long Reach of Juvenile and Criminal Legal Debt: How Monetary Sanctions Shape Legal Cynicism and Adultification.” Children & Youth Services Review, 154. 
  • McLaughlin, Heather and Sarah K.S. Shannon. 2022. “Gender Equality and the Shifting Gap in Female-To-Male Prison Admission Rates.” Criminology 60(3):508-537.
  • Moore, Lacey B. and Sarah K.S. Shannon. 2022.  “Reduced Criminal Thinking in the Values-Based Prison Fellowship Academy® Program.” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation.
  • Woodall, Denise and Sarah K.S. Shannon. 2022. “Carceral Citizens Rising: Understanding Oppression Resistance Work Through the Lens of Carceral Status.” Social Service Review 96(2): 308-352.
  • Huebner, Beth M. and Sarah K.S. Shannon. 2022. “Private Probation Costs, Compliance, and the Proportionality of Punishment: Evidence from Georgia and Missouri.” RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 8(1): 179-199
  • Friedman, Brittany, Alexes Harris, Beth M. Huebner, Karin D. Martin, Becky Pettit, Sarah K.S. Shannon, and Bryan L. Sykes. 2022. “What is Wrong with Monetary Sanctions: Directions for Policy, Practice, and Research.” RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 8(1): 221-243.
  • Kirk, Gabriela*, Kristina J. Thompson, Beth M. Huebner, Christopher Uggen, and Sarah K.S. Shannon. 2022. “Justice by Geography: The Role of Monetary Sanctions Across Communities.” RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 8(1): 200-220.
  • Boches, Daniel J.*, Brittany T. Martin, Andrea Guiffre*, Amairini Sanchez*, Aubrianne L. Sutherland*, and Sarah K.S. Shannon. 2022. “Monetary Sanctions and Symbiotic Harms. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 8(2): 98-115.
  • Larson, Ryan*, Sarah Shannon, Aaron Sojourner, and Christopher Uggen. 2021. “Felon History and Change in U.S. Employment Rates.” Social Science Research. DOI:
  • Sarah Shannon. 2020. "Probation and Monetary Sanctions in Georgia: Evidence from a Multi-method Study." Georgia Law Review 54(4):1213-1233.
  • Sarah Shannon, Beth Huebner, Alexes Harris, Karin Martin, Mary Pattillo, Becky Pettit, Bryan Sykes, and Christopher Uggen. 2020. “The Broad Scope and Variation of Monetary Sanctions: Evidence from Eight States.” UCLA Criminal Justice Law Review 4(1): 269-281.
  • Martin, Brittany and Sarah K.S. Shannon. 2020. "State Variation in the Drug Felony Lifetime Ban On TANF: Why the Modified Ban Matters." Punishment & Society 22(4):439-460.
  • Martin, Karin, Bryan Sykes, Sarah Shannon, Frank Edwards, and Alexes Harris.  2018. “Monetary Sanctions: Legal Financial Obligations in the Criminal Justice System.” Annual Review of Criminology 1(1):471-495.
  • Shannon, Sarah K.S. 2017. "Punishment, Religion, and the Shrinking Welfare State for the Very Poor in the United States, 1970-2010.Socius 3:1-16.
  • Sarah K.S. Shannon, Christopher Uggen, Jason Schnittker, Melissa Thompson, Sara Wakefield, and Michael Massoglia. 2017. "The Growth, Scope, and Spatial Distribution of People with Felony Records in the United States,1948 to 2010." Demography 54(5):1795-1818.
  • Sarah K.S. Shannon and Mathew Hauer. 2017. “A Life Table Approach to Estimating Disproportionate Minority Contact in the Juvenile Justice System.” Justice Quarterly 35(2):330-355.
Of Note:

Research Funding

  • Co-Principal Investigator, Prison Unrest and Reform in the Deep South:  Guthrie v. Evans and the Meaning of Incarceration, UGA Libraries Fairchild-Holcomb Award for Innovation in the Humanities, $7,200.
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Monetary Sanctions Collective, Arnold Ventures, $282,431.
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Rural Jails Research Hub, 2020-2021. Funded by the Vera Institute of Justice. $235,000.
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Multi-State Study of Monetary Sanctions. 2015-2020. Funded by the Laura and John Anold Foundation (via University of Washington, PI Alexes Harris). $237,646.
  • Principal Investigator, RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies Grant. 2014-2015. "The Longitudinal Impact of SNAP Enrollment and Spending on Community Health and Well-being in Rural and Urban Georgia During the Great Recession."  Purdue Center for Regional Development & the Southern Rural Development Center. $33,136.

Teaching Accomplishments

Articles Featuring Sarah Shannon

Drs. Sarah Shannon and Diana Graizbord have launched First Publics, a space intended for critical reflection as well as a useful resource for sociology instructors across higher ed institution types and teaching roles as well as contexts outside of the US.…

The panel was titled, "Breaking Ground: Grassroots Engagement Connecting the University and Incarcerated Communities" and featured three educational initiatives working within the UGA community and inside Georgia jails and prisons. Also on the panel were Dr.…

Sarah Shannon has received two recent awards for teaching excellence.  The Richard B. Russell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the…