College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Criminology > Faculty > geneva-brown

Geneva Brown

  • ​​

  • Criminology
  • (312) 362-5630

Geneva Brown a​ttended the University Wisconsin for undergraduate and law school. She spent nearly a decade as a public defender in Milwaukee and Kenosha, Wisconsin and practiced during the height of the war on drugs. Wisconsin, like many other states p​assed harsh truth-in-sentencing laws. She saw a dramatic increase in clients being imprisoned for drug offenses and also witnessed the enforcement of drug laws concentrated in poor communities of color.

She then obtained a masters from University of Illinois and joined the academy. Utilizing critical race theory and intersectionality, her scholarship focused on racial disparities in drug law enforcement and the devastating effects on over-enforcement had on communities. Besides scholarly articles, she directed criminal appeals and domestic violence clinics. One of her proudest moments as a law professor was President Obama granting the clemency petitions of four of her clients. The drug offenders had their life sentences reduced and were eventually released from prison.

Justice in action is my teaching philosophy. Justice in action means understanding that inequality exists in the criminal justice system and finding creative methods to address it. Students will learn from my experience as an actor in the criminal justice system. I studied the system as a student; practiced in it as public defender; and critiqued the system as a professor. I understand all aspects of the system. Justice in action has three different components: 1) an analysis of the overall criminal justice system; 2) how the criminal justice system addresses social issues; and 3) how the system operates in the real world. I use a multilayered approach to tackle the complexities and problems of the system. I teach justice in action to explain the criminal justice system and how inequality works throughout the system.