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Ryan T. Shields, PhD

  • Assistant Scientist

Departmental Affiliations

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

415 N. Washington Street
Room 519
Baltimore, Maryland 21231


Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse

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PhD, Florida State University, 2013
MS, University of Baltimore, 2008


My research focuses broadly on the intersection of criminology, criminal justice, and public health.  More specifically, I am interested in how society responds to crime, particularly around punishment. My work typically is centered on four key research questions:

Why do we punish?

How do we punish?

How does punishment vary across different groups of people?

How can punishment and prevention coexist?

My work at the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse examines these questions as they pertain to the perpetration of child sexual abuse. I am involved in projects that examine sentencing trends, sex offender registration and notification policy effects, and Safe Harbor laws for commercially sexually exploited children.

  • criminology
  • child sexual abuse prevention
  • punishment
  • sex crime policy
  • violence

Most recent publications:

  • Shields, Ryan T. and Elizabeth J. Letourneau. 2015. Commercial sexual exploitation of children and the emergence of safe harbor legislation: Implications for policy and practice. Current Psychiatry Reports. In press. 
  • Harris, Andrew J., Scott Walfield, Ryan T. Shields, and Elizabeth J. Letourneau. 2015. Collateral consequences of juvenile sex offender registration and notification: Results from a survey of treatment providers. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment. In press.
  • Levenson, Jill S., Ryan T. Shields, and David Singleton. 2014. Collateral punishments and sentencing policy: Perceptions of residence restrictions for sex offenders and drunk drivers. Criminal Justice Policy Review 25: 135-158. 
  • Mancini, Christina and Ryan T. Shields. 2013. Notes on a (sex crime) scandal: The impact of media coverage of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church on public opinion. Journal of Criminal Justice 42: 221-232.