Sally S. Simpson is a Distinguished University Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Director of the Center for the Study of Business Ethics, Regulation, & Crime (C-BERC) at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research interests include corporate crime, criminological theory, and the intersection between gender, race, class, and crime.

Simpson won the 2018 Edwin H. Sutherland Award from the American Society of Criminology.  She is a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology and,in 2008, was named Distinguished Scholar by the Division on Women and Crime, American Society of Criminology. Simpson will serve as the 2019/2020 President of the American society of Criminology and is the past-President of the Association of Doctoral Programs in Criminology and Criminal Justice.  She is former Chair of the Crime, Law, and Deviance Section of the American Sociological Association and past President of the White-Collar Crime Research Consortium. Recipient of the Herbert Bloch Award from the American Society of Criminology, in 2010 Simpson was named Woman of the Year by the President's Commission on Women's Issues at the Unviersity of Maryland.  Simpson won the Gilbert Geis Lifetime Achievement Award from the National White-Collar Crime Center and the White-Collar Crime Research Consortium in 2013.

Areas of Interest

  • Corporate Crime, Gender and Crime, Measurement of White Collar Crime, Testing Criminological Theory


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Gender and Crime

Using a computerized life-event calendar, Simpson and Co-Principal Investigators Julie Horney (Penn State University), Rosemary Gartner (University of Toronto), and Candace Kruttschnitt (University of Toronto) collected 3 years of retrospective data from more than 800 incarcerated women in Baltimore, Toronto, and Minneapolis. This project (Women’s Experience of Violence or WEV) examines individual, situational, and community factors that are associated with violent offending and victimization. In addition, for Baltimore and Minneapolis respondents, neighborhood census data are linked to individual addresses.  A recent publication using these data is:  Age-graded Pathways into Crime:  Evidence from a Multi-Site Retrospective Study of Incarcerated Women, (2016) by Sally S. Simpson, Mariel Alper, Laura Dugan, Julie Horney, Candace Kruttschnitt, and Rosemary Gartner.  Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology 2: 296-320.  An ongoing project (Lee, Gillespie, Slocum and Simpson) uses the data to examine the impact of Romantic Relationship Strain on women's drug use.  A paper from this project, "Better Together? Intimate Partner Effects on Offending Women" has been published in the Journal of Developmental and Life Course Criminology, 2020.

I also completed work with Mónica Caudillo (sociology) and graduate student Shelby Hickman on a project that uses several years of data from the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey to explore race and ethnic differences in risk-taking and effective contraceptive methods.  Findings from this study can be found in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2020.

Corporate Crime

My long-standing interest in corporate crime can be divided into three main themes: (1) under what conditions are companies more or less likely to violate the law; (2) manager decision-making; and (3) crime prevention and control strategies including formal legal sanctions (administrative, civil, and criminal), corporate governance and self-regulatory mechanisms.  I've recently completed several funded projects including:  (1) the public's willingness to pay for white-collar crime control (with Tom Loughran and Mark Cohen); (2) a report to BJS regarding the feasibility of building a comprehensive white-collar violations data system (with Peter C. Yeager; and (3) the independent and reciprocal relationships between diversity (gender, racial/ethic) in corporate governance, structural board characteristics, top management team diversity, corporate offending, and legal responses to offending (with Debra Shapiro, Christine Beckman, and Gerald Martin). 

In the broader white-collar crime area, Ritu Agarwal and Gordon Gao from the CHIDS Research Center in the Smith School of Business and I received a 2019 grant from the National Institute of Justice to study physician fraud.  Specifically, this project will involve constructing a database to identify physician behavioral factors (illegal behavior, patient complaints and malpractice, disciplinary actions, conspicuous consumption, and life stressors) that predict engagement in health care fraud. Data sources include federal databases on fraud, as well as state and local court records, state medical records, and online review web sites. The project will use retrospective matched design that includes a sample of physicians assigned to one of two groups: those who have and have not been excluded from participation in federal health care programs, such as Medicare, due to fraud, from 2015-2019.


Current Students

Related Students (Listed by Student on Student's Profile)

  • Isabella Castillo
  • Alexandra Smith
Sally Simpson
2165C LeFrak Hall
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice