Professor Nathan Innocente specializes in criminology, the sociology of professions, and teaching and learning. He teaches courses in criminology and socio-legal studies, crime and organizations, and identity crime, as well as introduction to sociology and experiential learning. His current teaching and learning research, with Prof. Jayne Baker, examines the influence of test preparation approaches in large introductory-level classrooms. In addition, he is interested in the ways in which problem-based learning pedagogy can be applied to criminology and sociology. His research on professions highlights how changing institutional contexts expose segments of the legal profession to competition from nonprofessional occupations, and the strategies professionals use to retain control over their work.
Professor Innocente’s criminological research encompasses organizations, punishment, and youth justice. He studies the relationship between changes in organizational contexts and the emergence of new opportunities for fraud. His research brings together elements of institutionalism, identity crime, and strain to explain the perpetration of mortgage fraud and the ways in which fraud is used to achieve homeownership. His research on punishment uses parole and youth sanctions to study questions of gender, punishment, and the role of community in criminal sanctions. With Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat, he studies parole conditions and the gendered characterization of parole board release narratives, including how women’s criminogenic risk/needs are framed within an institutional context, and how these frameworks themselves act as barriers to successful release. His research on youth justice examines the implementation of pre-charge youth diversion programs, the structural and philosophical differences among community agencies that generate variation in the treatment of youth, and the ways in which youth perceive post-charge extrajudicial sanctions.