Mary West-Smith received both her Master of Criminal Justice degree and her Ph.D. in Public Affairs, with a focus on criminal justice administration and policy, from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado, Denver. Prior to attending graduate school, she worked in the not-for-profit world for an agency that provided parental education and support services for parents. She also volunteered for many years with children and parents involved in foster care and the Dependency and Neglect court system. Through these experiences, she saw the connections between child abuse and involvement with the criminal justice system, which sparked her interest in pursuing graduate degrees in criminal justice. Before joining the University of Northern Colorado Criminal Justice faculty in 2005, she also worked on several governmental research projects, taught part-time, and worked with at-risk juveniles and incarcerated adults. Dr. West-Smith teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses on research methods, victimization, corrections and correctional concerns, and criminal justice planning and policy. Her current research interests focus on crime victims, family members of incarcerated individuals, at-risk youth, and policies and practices concerning prisoners returning to society.