Tusty ten Bensel

Dr. Tusty ten-Bensel is an Assistant Professor. She received her B.A and M.A in Criminal Justice from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Dr. ten Bensel’s scholarly interests stem from an interest in understanding the broader social, historical, and political contexts of criminal behavior and desistance, focusing specifically sexual violence, victimization, and neighborhoods and crime/recidivism. Over the past few years, she has specifically focused on collective, political, and sexual violence in warring countries. This interest stemmed from her dissertation that examined the process by which sexual violence evolves from an individual behavior to a group level activity in Sierra Leone and Bosnia. She found that rape during war was not static. Offender motivations for sexual assaults were entangled within cultural, structural, and societal ideologies; however, violent behaviors were often manipulated by political leaders and were likely to evolve over time. By examining sexual violence that occurs during political conflicts, Dr. ten Bensel was able to provide a more thorough understanding of violent sexual behaviors; thus, enabling policy makers to develop strategies to prevent such crimes in the future. From her dissertation, Dr. ten Bensel have published a number of articles, which focused on sexual violence in Sierra Leone. In 2014, she was invited to present her work at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she discussed the collectivization process of sexual violence in Bosnia and Sierra Leone. She has also co-authored another article that highlighted the similarities and differences across offenders and victims of wartime and interpersonal criminal rape and suggested ways in which others could study this phenomenon. Currently, Dr. ten Bensel is working on a number of projects with graduate students examining the differences between group level sexual violence in Sierra Leone and the factors that predict variations between fighting groups.

Dr. ten Bensel research also includes examining sex offender behaviors, laws, and the process of understanding desistance among this offender population. Specifically, she is examining the role of formal and informal social control mechanisms play in preventing sexual re-offending and determine whether differences exist in the role social networks contribute in affecting behavior across different sex offender types. By examining the control mechanisms among sex offenders, we can explore differences that may occur in these relationships across sex offender crime type. If differences are identified, this can help criminal justice professionals and mental health providers tailor interventions and community reintegration approach to individuals of various types of sex offending.

Thus far, Dr. ten Bensel has published one book and currently have one book under contract (Routledge), 15 peer-reviewed articles, and nine book chapters, encyclopedia entries, and other types of publications. She has also received a number of grants/contracts, such as the Disproportionate Minority Contact funding ($526,374 over 7 years) by the Department of Youth Services. Supported by the Arkansas Department of Corrections and the Arkansas Crime Information Center, Dr. ten Bensel and colleague was recently awarded the UALR Cluster Seed Grant ($50,000) to carry out our project over the next year and a half. In addition to examining the socio-economics of neighborhoods, they are also exploring the impact of physical disorder in neighborhoods and how that impacts recidivism. Dr. ten Bensel has published in scholarly journals such as Criminology, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Criminal Justice Policy Review, International Criminal Justice Review, Journal of Crime and Justice, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, and Youth and Society. She is an active member of the American Society of Criminology and Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

Dr. ten-Bensel can be reached at (501) 683-7665 or ixzohra@ualr.edu.

Please click here to view Dr. ten Bensel’s Vita.