Mass Incarceration, Homelessness, Substance Use

SP2 Initiatives and Faculty focus applied research, psychosocial services, and person-centered approach to better understand how to recover and provide service to vulnerable populations.

Featured Centers

Center for Carceral Communities

Goldring Reentry Initiative

Dennis Culhane


Dennis P. Culhane, PhD

Professor; PhD, Boston College, 1990. Homelessness; housing policy; policy analysis research methods.

Dr. Malitta Engstrom


Malitta Engstrom, PhD, LCSW

Associate Professor; PhD, Columbia University. Substance use and intersections with criminal justice system involvement, victimization, HIV, and mental health, particularly in relation to women across the life course and families; informing, developing, and testing interventions to address co-occurring concerns; enhancing the value of scientific findings for use in practice; multigenerational social work practice with families.

Demarcus A. Jenkins


DeMarcus A. Jenkins, PhD

Assistant Professor; PhD, University of California, Los Angeles. Education policy, housing policy, criminal/juvenile justice, school safety & discipline, gentrification, anti-Black racism, Critical Race Theory, social movements.

Noor Toraif


Noor Toraif, PhD, MA

Assistant Professor; PhD, Boston University. The intersection of the child welfare and juvenile legal systems, crossover youth, criminal legal system, youth and emerging adult reentry, youth-engaged research.

Related News

Candice Player

New senior fellow joins Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice

Poised to focus on research related to mental health and homelessness, as well as community engaged learning opportunities for students, Dr. Candice Player has joined SP2 as a senior fellow.

Dennis Culhane

New Yorker highlights SP2’s Dr. Dennis Culhane in homelessness feature

The research of Professor Dennis Culhane, Dana and Andrew Stone Chair in Social Policy at SP2, is featured prominently in a New Yorker feature about modern homelessness written by Pulitzer Prize – winning author Jennifer Egan.

Dean Bachman and SP2's faculty appear onstage at Commencement with the Penn Social Policy & Practice on a blue backdrop behind them

SP2 welcomes three new faculty with interdisciplinary expertise

Three new faculty have joined Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) as of July 1, 2023. Working at the intersection of social policy and practice and the fields of education, juvenile justice, and environmental politics, the new faculty members listed below will deepen SP2’s expertise in inclusion and racial and economic justice.