UTSA First-Year Faculty: Associate Professor Leanne Alarid
By Lydia Fletcher
Special Projects Writer
(July 2, 2007)--Leanne Alarid, UTSA associate professor of criminal justice, grew up near the Coors brewery in Golden, Colo. She went to graduate school at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, and spent the last 10 years at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she was a tenured associate professor.
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LF: What attracted you to UTSA?
LA: Personal and professional opportunity for growth. The mild weather, cultural diversity and affordability of San Antonio makes this city one of my favorite places for a good quality of life. The vision of the UTSA Department of Criminal Justice is congruent with my goals, and my colleagues are great. I am drawn to being a part of the lives of first-generation college students who are working hard to achieve their educational pursuits. I also like being situated at the Downtown Campus where research opportunities in the field of criminal justice abound.
LF: What research are you conducting or hoping to conduct at UTSA?
LA: My areas of research are institutional corrections, community-based corrections and risk management. Right now, I am completing a number of research projects, including correctional officer perceptions of contracting HIV/AIDS while in prison, why felony offenders prefer prison over probation, and the use of private businesses to operate probation services in the community.
Through my research, it is my hope that people will understand that nearly three out of four criminals spend their sentence in the community, and of those who go to prison or jail, 95 percent of prisoners will one day get out. Therefore, how we address the problems that brought them there in the first place is just as important to public safety and the reduction of future criminality as enforcing the laws.
Given the need for managing risk in the community, I have recently submitted a three-year grant proposal to the National Institute of Justice for $300,000 to evaluate the use of global positioning systems with high-risk offenders in the community.
A colleague and I submitted a grant proposal to the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission to study offenders who commit sexual assault of other prison inmates. This grant lends itself to decreasing the risk that some offenders pose to others while incarcerated.
LF: What do you enjoy about teaching?
LA: I have been teaching all types of class sizes for the last 12 years and find that I most enjoy class sizes of 30 and under where I can get to know students on a personal level. I try to enrich each student's educational goals to make their experience at UTSA meaningful in some way beyond the classroom.
LF: What is your favorite book?
LA: That's a hard one to answer because I read widely in many different areas. On a professional level, I keep current with the latest books and journals in criminology and criminal justice. On a personal level, I like to read books that increase my knowledge in areas such as health, travel, alternative medicine and spiritual growth.
On a concluding note, if I could say one thing to students it would be to make the most of your experience while you're here at UTSA. Take advantage of on-campus speakers and seminars, discover your interests through career services, attend fun events and network with other students. The more you can immerse yourself in your studies and in the student life here on campus, the richer your educational experience will be.
Read more about Leanne Alarid at the UTSA Department of Criminal Justice Web site.