Nancy Wolff, Ph.D.

Nancy Wolff

Distinguished Professor
Director, Bloustein Center for Survey Research
B.A., Iowa State University; Ph.D., Iowa State University
  • Room 273, Civic Square Building
  • (848) 932-2944
  • nwolff [at]
Research Interests
  • Health economics
  • Public finance
  • Criminal justice

Nancy Wolff, Ph.D., an economist and professor, joined the Bloustein faculty in 1992. Her research has increasingly focused on public policies and justice practices that influence the incarceration and rehabilitation of justice-involved people. In 1999, she was awarded an Atlantic Public Policy Fellowship to study the management of mentally disordered offenders in the United Kingdom, and in 2002 she received funding from the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) to launch a national center on behavioral health services and criminal justice research. The Center advances research that seeks to improve the welfare of people with mental illness in ways that minimize the disruption of treatment and maximize their potential to lead productive and rewarding lives. Most recently, her research has explored the prevalence of trauma among incarcerated men and women and the effectiveness of computerized-screening and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction problems among incarcerated men and women. She is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, and has received funding from the NIMH, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute of Justice, as well as private foundations. She is the former editor of Journal of Offender Rehabilitation and associate editor of Justice Quarterly, and is currently an associate editor of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

In 2007, she implemented two peer-run Community Centers at the women’s prison that provide assistance to over 200 women each month. Dr. Wolff spends three days a week in New Jersey and Pennsylvania prisons teaching, working with residents, and leading yoga, aerobics, and mindfulness programs. She is the founder of Books Behind Bars, a prison-based literacy program, for which she received a Russell Berrie Award for Making a Difference in 2008. Based on her work inside prisons, she was a semi-finalist for the Everyday Hero Award sponsored by the American Federation Teachers in 2012.

Complete Curriculum Vitae (C.V.)

View all course offerings and related syllabi

  • Health Care Economics
  • Public Health Economics

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Recent Publications


Chapters in Books or Monographs

  • 2015: Wolff, N. Correctional mental health research and program evaluation. In Trestman, R.L., Appelbaum, K.L., & Metzner, J.L. Oxford Texbook on Correctional Psychiatry, 399-403.

Articles in Refereed Journals

  • 2022: Caravaca-Sánchez, F., Aizpurua, E., & Wolff, N. The Prevalence of Prison-based Physical and Sexual Victimization in Males and Females: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 0(0).
  • 2020: Wolff, N., Aizpurua, E., Caravaca Sanchez, F., & Peng, D. (2020). Childhood adversity classes of incarcerated men and women: Are there unique gender patterns in adversity classes? Journal of Interpersonal Violence, on line
  • 2020: Wolff, N. and Caravaca Sanchez, F. Co-morbid psychological distress groups among incarcerated men. Journal of Criminal Psychology, 10(3), 169-183.
  • 2020: Wolff, N., Caravaca Sanchez, F., & Aizpurua, E. Childhood adversity classes of incarcerated men and their association with prison-based psychological distress and substance use. Children and Youth Services Review, 109 (C) on-line 10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104732
  • 2020: Caravaca Sanchez, F. & Wolff, N. The association between substance use and mental health symptoms among incarcerated males in Spain. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 59(3), 138-155
  • 2020: Caravaca Sanchez, F. & Wolff, Predictors of substance abuse among male prisoners in Spain: The role of childhood abuse and social support. Journal of Society for Social Work and Research, 11(2), 313-337.
  • 2018: Wolff, N. (2018). Are mental health courts target efficient? International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. 57, 67-76.
  • 2018: Caravaca Sanchez, F., Wolff, N., & Teasdale, B. (2018) Exploring associations between interpersonal violence and prison size in Spanish prisons. Crime & Delinquency,
  • 2016: Caravaca Sanchez, F. & Wolff, N. Prevalence and predictors of sexual victimization among incarcerated men and women in Spanish prisons. Criminal Justice and Behavior. On-line June 30, 2016.
  • 2016: Caravaca Sanchez, F. & Wolff, N. Self-report rates of physical and sexual violence among Spanish inmates by mental illness and gender. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology. On-line February 19, 2016.
  • 2015: Wolff, N., & Shi, J. (2015). Screening for substance use disorder among incarcerated men with the Alcohol, Smoking, Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST): A comparative analysis of computer-administred and interviewer-administered modalities. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 53, 22-32.
  • 2015: Wolff, N., Huening, J., Shi, J., & Frueh, B.C. (2015). The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral trauma treatment for incarcerated men with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders. Journal of Anxiety Disorder, 30,66-80.
  • 2015: Wolff, N., McHugo, G., Shi, J., Huening, J., & Frueh, B.C. (2015) Screening for PTSD among incarcerated Men: A comparative analysis of computer-administered and interviewer-administered modalities, Criminal Justice and Behavior, 42(2), 219-236.

Other Publications

  • 2018: Wolff, N. (2018). Evaluation of the Shelter Initiative Model of the Newborn Home Visiting Program, Final Report.
  • 2016: Wolff, N., Gezmu, T., & MacKinnon, T. The 2014-2015 New Jersey Department of Health: Sandy Behavioral Health Screening Project: Final Report
  • 2016: Wolff, N., & Shringare, N. New Jersey Department of Health: Improving Pregnancy Outcomes, 2014-2015: Process Evaluation of Implementation
  • 2016: Wolff, N., Wyce, C., & Shringare, N. New Jersey Department of Health: Improving Pregnancy Outcomes, 2014-2015, Outcome Evaluation

Areas of Expertise:  Correctional PolicyEconomicsHealth PolicySocial Policy/Inequality and DisparitiesStatistical Research Methods