Associate Research Scientist

Kathy Boudin

Dr. Kathy Boudin was the Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Center for Justice at Columbia University. Her work focused on the causes and consequences of mass incarceration, and the development of strategies to both transform the current criminal justice system and to deal with the day-to-day damage that the system has caused. In prison, she focused on strengthening mother-child relationships across the separation of incarceration, bringing back college to Bedford Hills Correctional Facility after the termination of the Pell grants, and building a community response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Following her release from prison in 2003, Dr. Boudin founded the Coming Home Program at the Spencer Cox Center for Health, Mt. Sinai/St.Luke’s, which provides health care for people returning from incarceration. She also developed a restorative practice program inside prisons for long-termers, many of whom were sentenced as juveniles, and developed policy initiatives to release aging people from prison and to reform the parole system. Her work was based on participation and leadership from those who are most deeply affected by mass incarceration.

Dr. Boudin’s articles have been published in The Harvard Education Review, Journal of Corrections Education,Women and Therapy, Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, and Liman Report of Yale Law School. She was editor and co-author of the book, Breaking the Walls of Silence: AIDS and Women in a New York State Maximum Security Prison. Her research interests included the impact of higher education on incarcerated women, recidivism rates and life experience of people serving long sentences and parole policy, the experience of adolescents with incarcerated mothers, and the role of peer support. She earned her undergraduate degree from Bryn Mawr College, her master’s degree from Norwich University, and her doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College in 2007.

Read tributes to the life and legacy of Dr. Boudin by Dean Begg and the Center for Justice.

Donate to the Kathy Boudin Freedom Fund to honor her legacy and ensure the work she began at the Center for Justice continues.