Shawn D. Bushway is a Professor of Criminal Justice in the School of Criminal Justice and Professor of Public Administration and Policy in the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany. Bushway has done research in three distinct areas: the relationship between work and crime, the effect of discretion in criminal justice processing, and the study of desistance/dynamic change. Occasionally, the areas intersect, such as his collection of studies on redemption. This work was driven by legal questions surrounding the appropriate role of criminal history records, particularly old criminal history records, in employment decisions. Bushway's analysis of long term hazard rates with co-authors Robert Brame and Megan Kurlychek helped to establish that first time youthful offenders eventually have the same levels of risk as non-offenders seven to ten years after their conviction. These results have raised questions about the validity of lifetime bans against those with criminal history records. This work on redemption also heightens the importance of questions about racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. If African-Americans are more likely to be convicted, they are also more likely to face the collateral consequences of conviction in the labor market. Bushway has written a number of papers on racial disparity in the criminal justice system, particularly in the context of sentencing guidelines. This work is marked by its emphasis on accurately modeling the process of the criminal justice system, and the ways it can create and maintain inequality.
Bushway earned a B.S. in Mathematics and Science from the University of Notre Dame in 1989 and his Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis and Political Economy from the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University.