Mary Ellen Mastrorilli

Mary Ellen Mastrorilli
Associate Professor of the Practice and Associate Chair of Applied Social Sciences; Faculty Coordinator for the Online Master of Criminal Justice
PhD, Northeastern University; MPA, Suffolk University; BA, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Dr. Mastrorilli’s research interests focus on female offenders, community corrections, and law and society. She holds over twenty-four years of experience in positions ranging from correction officer to prison administrator. She is the recipient of the Correctional Association of Massachusetts’ Professional Excellence Award, as well as the Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award given by the National Center for Women and Policing. Mastrorilli teaches courses in criminal justice and sociology.


My name is Mary Ellen Mastrorilli and my areas of expertise are studying the female offender, prison organizations as well as offender re-entry. Prior to coming to Boston University I worked in the prison system for 24 years. I retired as the Superintendent of Community Corrections for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department which is based in Boston. And it was a field that I didn’t choose; I would say the field chose me.

My passion in terms of my areas of expertise, I would have to say is the female offender. The female offender is really quite an interesting individual to study, in the sense that she is as much victim as she is perpetrator in some ways. Often in criminal justice whether you’re a police officer, or correction office, or parole officer, or probation officer, you are faced with situations that aren’t always guided by policy. And to make good decisions when you are faced with discretion requires good judgement and a strong moral compass.

I think the thing that is so fascinating about the field of corrections is the fact that it’s a people business. It’s about how well you relate to your community, it’s about how well you relate to offenders. And those are the skills that you need to hone in order to become a very effective criminal justice leader.


  • Principles of Sociology
  • The Female Offender
  • Research Methods
  • Criminal Justice Administration

Scholarly Works

Publications:Peer Reviewed
Mastrorilli, M., Norton-Hawk, M., & Usher, N. (2015). Once a Criminal Always a Criminal? A 15-Year Analysis of Recidivism among Female Prisoners in Massachusetts. Generos – Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies, 4, 31, 784-805.

Mastrorilli, M., Norton-Hawk, M. & Rousseau, D. (2014). D. How Far Have We Come? The Gluecks’ Recommendations from 500 Delinquent Women. Federal Probation 78, 1

Ransom, G. & Mastrorilli, M. (1993). The Massachusetts Boot Camp: Inmate Anecdotes. The Prison Journal, 73, 307-318.

Non-Peer Reviewed
Mastrorilli, M. (2015). How to Help the Growing Female Prison Population. Retrieved from

Norton-Hawk, M., Usher, N. & Mastrorilli, M. (2015). Alternatives to High Cost Incarceration for Prostitution-Related Offenses. Offenders Programs Report, 18, 5, 65-68(4).

Mastrorilli, M. (2014). Putting the Care into Care, Custody, and Control. Corrections Today, Sept/Oct.

Norton-Hawk, M., Sered, S., & Mastrorilli, M.E. (2013). History Repeats Itself: The Life Course of Women Released from Prison. Offender Programs Report. 17, 3, 35-36(2).

Book review
Mastrorilli, M. (2003). Book review of Women and (In)Justice: The Civil and Common Law Effects on Women’s Lives by Sheryl Grana. Bimonthly Review of Law Books, 14 (2).

Book (non-peer reviewed)
Mastrorilli, M. (2009) Women in Transition. .VDM Publishing. Saarbrucken, Germany.

Policy Briefs, White Papers and Essays
Mastrorilli, M. (2016) Obama’s Ban on Juvenile Solitary Confinement: More Than Rules Needed to Solve Problem. BU Today

Mastrorilli, M. (2011). Replacing Hard Cells with Soft Cells: A Hard Sell for Policymakers, submitted to the Alternatives to Incarceration Advisory Council. SSRN-id1881084.

Conferences and Presentations
Mastrorilli, M., Norton-Hawk, M. & Sered, S. (2014). “Why Recidivism Among Massachusetts Women Is Higher Today than It Was In The Past.” Invited Speaker, Massachusetts State House, Joint Committee on Families, Women, and Children.

Cronin, S., Rousseau, D. & Mastrorilli, M. (2013). “The Role of Neighborhood Context in Shaping Media Attention to Homicide Incidents.” 2013 American Society of Criminology Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Mastrorilli, M. (2013). “Promoting Academic Integrity in the Classroom.” Invited Speaker, Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching.

Norton-Hawk, M. & Mastrorilli, M. (2012). “Where Are They Now? Women’s Life Trajectories Post Incarceration.” 2012 American Society of Criminology Conference, Chicago, IL.

Mastrorilli, M. (2012). “Prison and Personal Connection: A Contradiction in Terms?” 2012 Law and Society International Conference. Honolulu, HI.

Mastrorilli, M. (2011). “Female Offenders: Part Victim, Part Criminal.” Invited Speaker, Guest Lecturer Series in Forensic Nursing. Boston College School of Nursing.

Mastrorilli, M. (2009). “Should Prisons Be Relational?” 13th National Workshop on Adult and Juvenile Female Offenders, Jackson, MS.

Mastrorilli, M. (2007). “Women and Reentry: Look Who’s Coming Back to the Neighborhood. 12th National Workshop on Adult and Juvenile Female Offenders, Baltimore, MD.

Mastrorilli, M. (2006). “The Social Control of Women: Rethinking the Incarceration of the Female Offender.” Student research conference at the University of Massachusetts/Boston – Social Inequalities in a New Century.

Mastrorilli, M. (2005). “Gender-Responsive Intermediate Sanctions: Do They Work?” 11th National Workshop on Adult &Juvenile Female Offenders. Bloomington, MN.

call to action
Post a Comment or Question

Leave a Reply

+ 8 = twelve