Crime & Justice Policy, Social & Education Policy

Karen Heimer

  • Distinguished Research Fellow, Crime and Justice Policy Research Program
  • Distinguished Research Fellow, Social and Education Policy Research Program
  • Professor, Department of Sociology


Karen Heimer is Professor of Sociology and Collegiate Fellow.  She is also an affiliate of the UI’s Public Policy Center.  Heimer researches and teaches in the areas of gender and violence, juvenile delinquency, criminal punishment, and causes of crime and violence. She currently is conducting research on the violent victimization of women and minorities, motherhood narratives of women in prison, gender differences in juvenile delinquency, and gender and race differences in patterns of incarceration in the United States and Great Britain.  She also is a principal investigator on a grant from the National Institute of Justice to implement and evaluate an intervention to reduce trauma, problem behaviors, and violence in an Iowa school district.  Heimer’s past work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, and National Consortium on Violence Research. She served on the National Academies of Sciences’ CNSTAT panel on Estimating the Incidence of Rape and Sexual Assault. Heimer was elected Fellow of the American Society of Criminology in 2015. She is a recipient of the 2018 Iowa Regents Award for Faculty Excellence, and is the 2018 University of Iowa Presidential Speaker.  She is currently the President of the American Society of Criminology. 

Research Interests

  • Criminology and juvenile delinquency
  • Victimization
  • Gender, crime and violence
  • Race and gender disparities in imprisonment, corrections and criminal punishment
  • Crime and victimization trend analysis

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1989
  • M.A., Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1984
  • B.A., Psychology, Florida Atlantic University, 1981