John Eason
John M. Eason
Nonresident Fellow
Justice Policy Center
Office of Race and Equity Research
  • Profile
  • Outside Affiliations
  • As a recovering community organizer and academic, I have found Urban is the perfect space to create rigorous, policy-relevant social science to engage and affect discourse on the most pressing criminal legal system challenges.

    John Major Eason is a nonresident fellow in the Justice Policy Center and the Office of Race and Equity Research and a former equity scholar at the Urban Institute. He is also the Watson family university associate professor of sociology and international and public affairs at Brown University and author of Big House on the Prairie: Rise of the Rural Ghetto and Prison Proliferation. He is a mixed-methods researcher specializing in ethnography and rare events and has research interests in health disparities, punishment, and race across rural and urban communities. He recently served as a member of the University at Buffalo’s inaugural Center for Diversity Innovation’s Distinguished Visiting Scholars cohort. Eason has faculty affiliations across Brown University, including the Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. After serving as an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 2018 to 2022, Eason maintains affiliations with the university’s Institute for Research on Poverty, the Applied Population Lab, and the Carbone Cancer Center. From 2010 to 2013, he was an assistant professor at Arizona State University before moving to Texas A&M University from 2013 to 2017. Before receiving an MPP and PhD from the University of Chicago, he worked as a congregation-based community organizer, focusing on housing and criminal justice, and served as a political organizer, most notably for then–Illinois state senator Barack Obama. His work on COVID in confined spaces and prison proliferation is funded by the National Science Foundation.

    Research Areas
    Neighborhoods, cities, and metros
    Race and equity
    Health and health care
    Crime, justice, and safety
    Black/African American communities
    Community and economic development
    Community engagement
    Social determinants of health
    Racial inequities in neighborhoods and community development
    Racial and ethnic disparities in criminal justice
    Place-based initiatives
    Mass incarceration
    Immigrant communities and COVID-19
    Immigrant communities and racial equity
    Health equity
    Featured Work

    Outside Affiliations
    Brown University
    Associate Professor of Sociology

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