Saundra D. Westervelt

Mailing address:

Department of Sociology
337 Graham Building, P.O. Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170

Phone #: 336-334-3697
Fax #: 336-334-5283

Saundra Westervelt has been at UNCG since 1997. During that time, she has taught primarily within the criminology concentration that is available to students in the sociology major. Her teaching interests lie in the general areas of criminology and the sociology of law. A list of the classes she teaches follows. She most recently added a class on "miscarriages of justice" that overlaps with her current research interests and primary area of research activity.

Saundra's primary research interests are within the general area of the sociology of law. Her early work focused on the extra-legal factors that influence the development and acceptance of new criminal defense strategies in court. However, she has more recently turned her attention to examining the causes and consequences of wrongful convictions. At present, she is engaged in a long-term study of individuals who have been wrongly convicted and released from death row across the United States. She is particularly interested in the consequences such experiences have for the individuals who have suffered this fate, i.e., what "life after exoneration" is like. This research involves personal interviews with those individuals who have been wrongly convicted and exonerated.

Saundra has been married to Van Westervelt since 1994. Van is a pediatric psychologist who currently heads the Learning Assistance Center at Wake Forest University. They have one son, Drew, born in July of 2001, who is, simply, the greatest!

Courses Taught:    
Sociology 101: Introduction to Sociology
Sociology 324: Criminology
Sociology 332: Law and Society
Sociology 335: Marriage and the Family
Sociology 420: Family Violence
Sociology 430: Miscarriages of Justice

Sociology 655: Sociology of Law

Recent Publications and other research activity  

Westervelt, Saundra D. and John A. Humphrey, eds. 2001. Wrongly Convicted:
Perspectives on Failed Justice New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

Westervelt, Saundra D. 1998. Shifting the Blame: How Victimization Became a Criminal
Defense. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.
Selected journal articles and book chapters:  
Westervelt, Saundra D., and Kimberly J. Cook. 2007 “Feminist Methods in Theory and Action:
Learning from Death Row Exonerees.” In Criminal Justice Research &
Practice: Diverse Voices from the Field
. Ed. by Susan Miller.
University Press of New England.
Corse, Sarah and Saundra D. Westervelt. 2002. "Literary Valorization: The Awakening of
a Canonical Novel." Sociological Perspectives 45: 139-161.
Nolan, James L. and Saundra D. Westervelt. 2000. "Justifying Justice: Therapeutic Law
and the Victimization Defense Strategy." Sociological Forum 15: 617-646.
Grant activity:    
American Sociological Association Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline. Co-PI:
Kimberly J. Cook. “Life after Death Row: Recovery and Coping Strategies of Death
Row Exonerees.” 2004-2006. ($6990)
External Proposal Development Incentive Program, UNCG. Co-PI: Kimberly J. Cook. “Life
after Death: Life Histories of Innocents after their Release from Death Row.” 2003-
2004. (~$37,000)