Photo of Shelley Brown

Shelley Brown

Phone:613-520-2600 x 1505
Office:A513 Loeb Building
Website:Gender & Crime Research Lab


Shelley Brown is an associate professor of forensic psychology within the Department of Psychology, Carleton University. She is also an associate graduate faculty member with the Centre of Applied Psychology and Human Development, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. She has been an inaugural member of the Forensic Psychology Research Centre (FPRC) since 2008 and served as Director of the FPRC from 2010 to 2012. Shelley also chaired the Psychology Department’s research ethics board from 2012 to 2014 as well as the University wide research ethics board from 2015 to 2017.

Shelley obtained her Ph.D. in 2002 from Queens University in forensic psychology. Shelley’s dissertation examined the dynamic re-assessment of risk and need factors among men on parole. Following a 10-year research career with the Correctional Service of Canada, she joined Carleton University in 2006. Since arriving at Carleton, Shelley’s program of research has shifted focus.

Shelley’s program of research now aims to improve gender responsive services for girls and women in the criminal justice system. She has published over 50 articles, government reports, book chapters and books about criminal behaviour in general, as well as works specific to justice-involved girls and women. Her work has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Public Safety, and Correctional Service of Canada. Shelley also teaches and supervises students at the undergraduate and graduate level. Shelley has also received teaching, research achievement, and student mentoring awards.

Research Interests

Shelley’s current program of research is dedicated to understanding female offending using integrated approaches. These approaches incorporate quantitative and qualitative methods as well as gender neutral and female-specific theories of crime. Currently, I am involved in 3 inter-related streams of research: (1) examining the reliability and validity of existing psychologically-based assessment tools that are commonly used to assess female offender risk and need areas but for which little female-specific research exists, (2) developing new models of female criminal behavior using integrated theoretical and methodological approaches, and (3) developing new assessment tools for youthful females that are grounded in theory and research.

Selected Publications

Brown, S.L. & Gelsthorpe, L. (in press) (Eds.) The Wiley Handbook on What Works with Girls and Women in Conflict with the Law: A Critical Review of Theory, Practice and Policy. In Wiley-Blackwell Series: What Works in Offender Rehabilitation (Series Editors: Leam A. Craig, Louise Dixon, and J. Stephen Wormith). Wiley.

Finseth, S., Peterson-Badali, M., Brown, S.L., & Skilling, T.A. (in press).  Promoting rehabilitation among youth on probation: An examination of strengths as specific responsivity factors. Criminal Justice and Behavior.

Brown, S.L., Wanamaker, K.A., Greiner, L., Scott, T., & Skilling, T.A. (2021). Complex trauma and criminogenic needs: Two paths to the youth justice system—A Gender-informed latent profile analysis. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 48(2), 175–194.

Wanamaker, K.A., & Brown, S.L. (2021). Assessing dynamic risk and dynamic strength change patterns and the relationship to reoffending among women on community supervision. Criminal Justice and Behavior [Full PDF]

Brown, S.L., Robinson, D., Wanamaker, K., & Wagstaff, M. (2020). Strengths Matter: Evidence from Five Separate Cohorts of Justice-involved Youth and Adults Across North America. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 47, 1428-1447.

Brown, S.L., Peterson-Badali, M., Cesaroni, Wagstaff, M., Chambers, A., Fredericks, K., Goodwin, J., & Van Dieten, M. (2020). Incorporating gender-based analysis into crime prevention. Public Safety Canada. [Full PDF]