Core Faculty

Leon standard headshot

Kenneth Sebastian León, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
LCS and Criminal Justice Program
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(848) 445-3820  



Ph.D. 2017, American University, Justice, Law and Criminology
M.A. 2013, George Washington University, Criminology
B.S. 2011, Florida State University, Criminology and Criminal Justice

Office Room: A-269, Lucy Stone Hall, Livingston Campus
(848) 445-3820

Research Interests

State-corporate crime; critical legal theory; critical race theory; crimes of the powerful; transnational organized crime; power and social control; criminology of food; island studies; carceral studies; vice regulation

Biographical Information

Professor León is an Assistant Professor of Latino and Caribbean Studies and a Faculty Affiliate of the Criminal Justice Program at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His scholarship and research interests broadly focus on the economic, ideological, racial, and sociopolitical value systems embedded in select issues of crime, criminality, and criminalization. Engaged with past and present forms of power asymmetries and their relationship to legal structures and social problems. Professor León is committed to applying a sociological imagination to study why things don’t have to be this way.

Previously, Professor León was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at George Washington University, where he also served as the Interim Director of the GW Law & Society Minor. During his graduate studies, León was a contracted researcher at the National Institute of Justice, contributing to the transnational organized crime portfolio. Projects in this area include grant-funded collaborations studying the Colombian National Police, the Honduran National Police, and the transnational capacity of MS-13 in the United States and El Salvador.

Professor León will serve as the founding Managing Editor for the Journal of White Collar and Corporate Crime, a forthcoming (2020) SAGE publication.



  • 2019. Leon, Kenneth. White-Collar Crime, Organizational Deviance, and Political Corruption: A Sociolegal Analysis of the Nightlife Economy. *Book prospectus provisionally accepted by an academic press.


  • 2018. Legitimized Fraud and the State-Corporate Criminology of Food - A Spectrum-Based Theory. *Forthcoming in Crime, Law and Social Change. (
  • 2017. A Culture that is Hard to Defend: Extralegal Factors in the Defense of Federal Death Penalty Cases. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 107(4): 643-686. (
  • 2017. Food Fraud and the Partnership for a ‘Healthier’ America: A Case Study in State-Corporate Crime. Critical Criminology 25: 393-410. DOI 10.1007/s10612-017-9363-x
  • 2016. To Study, to Party, or Both? Assessing Risk Factors for Non-Prescribed Stimulant Use Among Middle and High School Students. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 49(1): 22-30. (
  • 2014. Legalizing Marijuana: Comparing Ballot Outcomes in Four States. Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice & Criminology 2(2): 193-218.

Book Chapters

  • 2018. "Minority-Owned Cannabis Businesses as a Social Justice Imperative," in J. Hill and N. Marion (eds.) More on Legalizing Marijuana: Ongoing Shifts in American Policies. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press. *Forthcoming.
  • 2015. "Marijuana Legalization: Comparing Recent Ballot Initiatives," in J. Hill and N. Marion (eds.) Legalizing a crime: Marijuana policies across America. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.