Dr. Kirk Anthony James is an alumnus of the school of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). He completed his doctorate in May 2013. His dissertation titled: “The Invisible Epidemic In Social Work Academia”, examined the complex phenomena of mass incarceration utilizing a historical and contemporary analysis. He concluded by developing curricula for Master level students to increase awareness, activism and holistic practice in lieu of mass incarceration. Courses developed from his dissertation have currently been implemented at City College, Columbia University, Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
During his doctoral studies at the Penn, Dr. James developed and led the Goldring Reentry Initiative (GRI). The primary goal of the GRI is to reduce recidivism for individuals transitioning from Philadelphia jails. The program trains clinical and macro level social work student interns to work with incarcerated individuals (pre and post release) while simultaneously illuminating (and challenging) macro challenges to successful reentry. Dr. James has over a decade of leadership experience in various social service fields. He is a well-respected speaker on issues pertaining to social justice and human rights. His primary research focuses on deconstructing issues of mass incarceration–Specifically as it pertains to trauma, cognitive development, culpability, and the examination of systems that perpetuate arrest and recidivism. Dr. James also founded and co-leads EVOLVE-A multifaceted human rights intervention dedicated to ending mass incarceration through the utilization of transformative education.