Don Stemen, PhD

Title/s:  Associate Professor, Chairperson
Director, Sociolegal Studies Minor

Office #:  Mundelein Center, Room 807B

Phone: 773.508.8505


CV Link: D Stemen CV


Dr. Don Stemen is an Associate Professor and Chairperson in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology and a member of the Graduate Faculty at Loyola University, Chicago. Dr. Stemen received his PhD in Law and Society from the Institute for Law and Society at New York University in 2007. Before coming to Loyola, Dr. Stemen was the Director of Research on Sentencing and Corrections at the Vera Institute of Justice, where he worked with state and county governments to reform criminal justice policies.

Dr. Stemen's research focuses on prosecutorial decision making, exploring contextual factors affecting prosecutorial outcomes, and sentencing and corrections issues, examining the innovation and diffusion of sentencing and corrections policies across the United States. His research has been supported through grants from the National Institute of Justice, the National Institute of Corrections, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Open Society Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. His current project - Prosecutorial Attitudes, Perspectives, and Priorities - with Besiki Kutateladze from Florida Internation University is supported under MacArthur's Safety and Justice Challenge


2007 PhD, Law and Society, New York University

1997 MA, Criminal Justice, University of Illinois, Chicago

1993 BS, Mathematics, University of Illinois, Chicago

Research Interests

Prosecutorial Decision Making


Community Corrections

Policy Innovation and Diffusion

Courses Taught

Criminal Justice in a Global Context CJC 101

Criminal Courts CJC 202

Undergraduate Research Methods CJC 205

Politics and Policy Analysis in the Criminal Justice System CJC 401

Graduate Program Evaluation and Research Methods CJC 403

Introduction to Sociolegal Studies SLGL 200

Selected Publications

Stemen, Don and Gipsy Escobar. (forthcoming). Whither the prosecutor? Prosecutor and county effects on guilty plea outcomes in Wisconsin. Justice Quarterly.

Andres F. Rengifo, Don Stemen, and Ethan Amidon. (2017). When policy comes to town: Discourses and dilemmas of implementation of a statewide reentry policy in Kansas. Criminology 55: 603-630

Stemen, Don and David Olson. (2017). Two paths to policy: Data, discretion, and local-level problems in Illinois' sentencing reform process. Federal Sentencing Reporter 30(2): 138=145

Stemen, Don. (2017). Beyond the war: The evolving nature of the U.S. approach to drugs. Harvard Review of Law and Policy 11(2): 375-418.

Rengifo, Andres F. and Don Stemen. (2015). The unintended effects of penal reform: Racial threat, determinate sentencing and incarceration in the United States (1978–2004). Crime and Delinquency 61: 719-741.

Stemen, Don and Andres Rengifo. (2015). The focal concerns of sentencing and mandatory sentencing laws: Circumvention in the context of mandatory probation and treatment. Journal of Crime and Justice 38: 183-203.