Matthew Epperson is an associate professor at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. His research centers on developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions to reduce disparities in the criminal justice system. His primary area of focus is understanding and addressing person- and place-level risk factors for criminal justice involvement among persons with mental illnesses. Assoc. Prof. Epperson's interests also include developing conceptual, evidence-based frameworks for effective and sustainable decarceration. His scholarship and teaching aim to build and advance the capacity of the social work profession to address these challenges and opportunities for criminal justice transformation.
His work in the field has stimulated cross-sector applied policy and behavioral intervention research that will help reduce the incarcerated population in ways that are humane, socially just, and sustainable. He is the director of the Smart Decarceration Project, which bridges research and practice to reduce the use of incarceration. As a core part of this work, he co-leads "Promote Smart Decarceration," one of twelve grand challenges for the social work profession.
Assoc. Prof. Epperson has over 15 years of post-MSW clinical and administrative social work experience in behavioral health and criminal justice settings.