Nate Link is a criminologist, associate professor, and director of the master’s program in criminal justice. He is also affiliated with the Health Sciences Center and the graduate program in prevention science. He conducts publicly-engaged scholarship, aiming to create knowledge that can improve both public policy and the lives of those in contact with the justice system. Link primarily researches issues in corrections and sentencing, including financial sanctions and debt, prisoner reentry and desistance from crime, mental/physical health, and crime/recidivism control strategies. In a recent paper, he and his coauthors developed the concept of health-based desistance, arguing that mental and physical health states have important implications for life-course criminology.

Link’s research has been supported with grants from The National Institute of Justice, Arnold Ventures, The William T. Grant Foundation, and the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at Moritz College of Law. He is currently working on two externally-funded projects: (1) a longitudinal evaluation of cannabis legalization and decriminalization in New Jersey, and (2) a five-year evaluation of the impact of eliminating court fees and other debt in Philadelphia.

Link’s work appears in a variety of refereed outlets, including: Criminology; Justice Quarterly; Social Science & Medicine; Criminal Justice and Behavior; Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology; Journal of Experimental Criminology; Journal of Offender Rehabilitation; UCLA Criminal Justice Law Review; and Health & Justice.

In 2018, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences recognized one of his articles with the Donal MacNamara Award for “outstanding journal publication.” He was honored with a 2021 Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Research and a 2023 Chancellor’s Award for Community-Engaged Scholarship. He also received a Board of Trustees Research Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence Award in 2023.

He teaches the senior capstone course—Ethics and Policy in Criminal Justice—in addition to an engaged civic learning (ECL) course he designed called Mass Incarceration, Reentry, and Justice.