Molly Smith, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She joined the faculty in the fall of 2016 after receiving her Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University. She also holds both a M.A. in Criminal Justice and Criminology and a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University.
Her research interests broadly relate to the study of sex crimes, with specific focuses on sexual assault on college campuses and the commercial sex trade. Her primary research goal is to add to the limited empirical understanding about sex traffickers and the men who purchase sex. In line with this goal, her dissertation examines how sex buyers’ age and stage in the life-course influences their motivations for seeking out prostituted women. She believes that identifying such motivations is key given that further research on the demand aspect of the commercial sex trade could generate new practices for handling the men who purchase sex, thus potentially limiting recidivism among this population and reducing future victimization among sex workers.
Dr. Smith’s research has been published in journals such as Criminology, Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology, Criminal Justice and Behavior, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, and Journal of Correctional Health Care. Recently, she has also broadened her research to the field of corrections and is currently working on several projects concerning re-entry and correctional healthcare. In particular, she is interested in the barriers offenders face with regard to receiving proper medical care, as well as those that medical professionals confront when advocating for and treating these patients. She also mentors both undergraduate and graduate students on a variety of projects, including topics such as corrections, life-course criminology, and campus crime. Several of her undergraduate mentees have won competitive state-wide Student Undergraduate Research Fellowships from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education; allowing them to present the findings of their research with her at both national and regional conferences.
In addition to maintaining an active research agenda and mentoring students, Dr. Smith is actively involved in the American Society of Criminology (ASC), Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), and Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice (SWACJ), and has served on the Executive Board of SWACJ as the organization’s webmaster since 2017. She also regularly volunteers with the American Heart Association (Central Arkansas) and serves on the Executive Leadership Team for their Festival of Wines and Go Red for Women events. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, cooking, and traveling.