Core Faculty

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Kenneth Sebastian León, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
LCS and Criminal Justice Program
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(848) 445-4242

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-259, Lucy Stone Hall, Livingston Campus

Research Interests

crimes of the powerful; political economies of justice systems; carceral studies; race and justice; food systems


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 underpinnings of crime and justice systems.

He is the author of Corrupt Capital – Alcohol, Nightlife, and Crimes of the Powerful (Routledge, 2020). Dr. León’s work also addresses practical issues in criminal justice institutions. Collaborative and immersive projects in this area include studies of the Colombian National Police, the Honduran National Police, and the transnational capacity of MS-13 in the United States and El Salvador.

His scholarship appears in Criminology & Public Policy; Critical Criminology; Crime, Law and Social Change; Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy; Journal of Psychoactive Drugs; the Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice and Criminology; Race and Justice; and Carolina Academic Press.



2020* León, Kenneth Sebastian. 2020. Corrupt Capital – Alcohol, Nightlife, and Crimes of the Powerful. Routledge – Crimes of the Powerful Series. *In Press. (


Select Works Available in Open Access Format Here.

2020. Barak, Maya, Kenneth S. León, and Edward Maguire. 2020. Conceptual and Empirical Obstacles in Defining MS-13: Law-Enforcement Perspectives. Criminology & Public Policy 19(2): 563-589. (

2019. León, Kenneth Sebastian. 2019. The Colombian National Police and the Politics of Crime Control Evaluations. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 8(4): 18-32. (

2019. León, Kenneth and Ivy Ken. 2018. Legitimized Fraud and the State-Corporate Criminology of Food - A Spectrum-Based Theory. Crime, Law and Social Change 71: 25-46. (

2017. Gould, Jon and Kenneth León. 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. León, Kenneth and Ivy Ken. 2017. Food Fraud and the Partnership for a ‘Healthier’ America: A Case Study in State-Corporate Crime. Critical Criminology 25: 393-410. (

2016. León, Kenneth S. and Daniel E. Martinez. 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. León, Kenneth and Ronald Weitzer. 2014. Legalizing Marijuana: Comparing Ballot Outcomes in Four States. Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice & Criminology 2(2): 193-218. (


2020. León, Kenneth Sebastian. 2020. Book Review: Presumed Criminal – Black Youth and the Justice System in Postwar New York by Carl Suddler. New York University Press, 2019. Race and Justice.

2018. León, Kenneth. 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. (Book Chapter)

2015. León, Kenneth and Ronald Weitzer. 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. (Book Chapter)


2020. León, Kenneth Sebastian Racial Justice Includes Keeping Your Employees. Op-Ed. The Daily Targum. June 12. (

2019. León, Kenneth Sebastian and Maya P. Barak. “The Salvadoran Willie Horton and Racist Migration Policies: Debunking and Reframing Crime and Safety Claims.” Citizen Critics. (

2019. Scholar Spotlight | Latina/o/x Criminology (

2019. Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Facebook Misconduct by CBP Agents, Philadelphia Police. AlertArticles. July 2. (

2019. Criminologist Available to Discuss New Jersey Cannabis Reforms and Racial Inequities. May 16. NewsWise. (

2018. Schmid, Thacher. No link between homeless villages and crime rates, Guardian review suggests. The Guardian. May 23. (

2017. Gould, Jon and Kenneth León. 2017. Legal Aid for Capital Punishment Cases Depends on Where You Live: Study. The Crime Report.

2015. León, Kenneth. 2015. Colombia’s National Policing Model: Real Success? AULA Blog – AU Center for Latin American & Latino Studies. (