Criminal Justice Department

West Chester University

Criminal Justice Department
200A Ruby Jones Hall
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2647
Mary Brewster, Ph.D., Department Chair



Mary Brewster, Ph.D.

Professor of Criminal Justice
Chair, Department of Criminal Justice
Rutgers University, Ph.D. Criminal Justice
Fordham University, M.A. Sociology

Before joining the faculty of West Chester University, Dr. Brewster taught at Hartwick College, the State University of New York-Morrisville, and Kutztown University. She has taught in the graduate and undergraduate criminal justice programs since 1993, and serves as the coordinator of the graduate criminal justice program at WCU.  Dr. Brewster has also served as a trainer for the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA).

Dr. Brewster has authored several articles in journals such as Criminal Justice Policy Review, Journal of Family Violence, Journal of Drug Issues, Violence and Victims, Prison Journal, and Women and Criminal Justice. Additionally, she has authored dozens of book reviews, research reviews, encyclopedia entries, and book chapters, and has been a contributing editor of Criminal Justice Research Review, associate editor of a forthcoming criminal justice encyclopedia, editor of the book Stalking: Psychology, Risk Factors, Interventions, and Law, co-editor of a forthcoming book related to animal cruelty, and a reviewer for several scholarly journals.

Dr. Brewster works with various community agencies, and has evaluated drug court, mental health court, alcohol prevention, community policing, and other programs in the region. She has served as Principal Investigator on a National Institute of Justice grant and has worked on numerous other grant-supported research projects. Her research interests include: domestic violence and stalking, corrections, specialized courts, and drug and alcohol prevention

Courses Taught:   Research Methods, Criminological Theory, Victimology, Corrections, Proseminar

Jane M. Tucker, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Graduate Coordinator / Practicum Coordinator
Temple University, Ph.D. Criminal Justice
West Chester University, M.S. Criminal Justice

Dr. Tucker joined the West Chester University Criminal Justice Department in 2011. Prior to joining the faculty WCU, Dr. Tucker taught criminal justice courses at both Kutztown University and at Temple University. Her practical criminal justice experience includes several years in private security followed by approximately 14 years of service as a law enforcement officer in both municipal and university settings. The majority of those years were spent as a police officer with the Lower Merion Township Police Department in Pennsylvania. While employed by Lower Merion Township Police Department, Dr. Tucker was trained in wide variety of specialty law enforcement topics and skills, including crime prevention, community policing, domestic violence, child abuse investigation, fatal traffic accident investigation, and hate crimes investigation. Additionally, Dr. Tucker served as a platoon investigator and a field training officer (FTO).

Dr. Tucker’s dissertation concerned the factors that influence officer willingness to use stress intervention services. She continues to be involved in research on police stress issues and serves on a Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team as a peer provider. Dr. Tucker is currently a faculty co-advisor for the West Chester University Criminal Justice Club, Sigma Tau Omicron and the faculty advisor for the Criminal Justice Honor Society (Nu Beta).  In addition, she serves as the department Practicum Coordinator and Graudate Coordinator..  Her research interests are:  police stress, police organizational behavior, criminal justice polity, discretion, and victimization.

Courses Taught: Introduction to Criminal Justice, Policing in America, Criminal Investigations, Forensic Science I, Investigations & Intelligence, Substance Abuse & Crime, Sex Crimes & the Law, Management of Offenders



Sami Abdel-Salam, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Temple University, Ph.D. Criminal Justice

Before joining the Department of Criminal Justice at West Chester University, Dr. Abdel-Salam worked as a Senior Research Associate for the Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies at the University of Delaware.  At the Center, he was involved in a national research cooperative funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to improve the implementation of evidence-based practices of substance abuse treatment in prison-based and community correctional settings.  From this research, he has worked directly with state correctional and community treatment agencies in efforts to improve the continuum of care received by offenders.  Additionally, Dr. Abdel-Salam has conducted research on adolescent substance abuse and treatment.  He has authored several articles in journals, such as Substance Use & Misuse, Journal of Drug Issues, Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, and Journal of Substance Use and has presented his findings at national conferences, such as the American Society of Criminology, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the Academy and Health Conference on Correctional Health.  As well as conducting research, Dr. Abdel-Salam has spent the last 10 years teaching university students in subjects such as Research Methods, Policing in America, and Race and crime.  His research interests include:  juvenile justice, drug and alcohol prevention, corrections, prisoner reentry, and community corrections.

Courses Taught:  Introduction to Criminal Justice, Policing in America, Race and Crime, Research Methods

Michael Antonio, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Northeastern University, Ph.D. Law & Public Policy

Ursinus College, B.S. Psychology

From 2000 through 2005, Dr. Antonio served as the Lead Research Scientist at the Criminal Justice Research Center at Northeastern University in Boston. Since 2005, he has worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a Research and Evaluation Manager at Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation & Parole.  Dr. Antonio has authored several articles in journals such as American Journal of Criminal Justice, Behavioral Sciences and the Law, Corrections Compendium, Criminal Justice Studies, Journal of Criminal Justice, and Prison Journal. In addition, Dr. Antonio has recently served as a peer reviewer for the U.S. Department of Justice-Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Pennsylvania’s Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Criminal Justice Policy Review, and Criminal Justice & Behavior.  His research interests include capital punishment, corrections, juries, offender rehabilitation, and probation and parole. 

Albert DiGiacomo, M.S.

Instructor of Criminal Justice

St. Josephs University, M.S. Criminal Justice

Professor Albert DiGiacomo joined West Chester University’s Criminal Justice Department full time in 2009. Prior to his appointment at West Chester he had served 29 years in the Philadelphia Police Department before retiring at the rank of Captain. His command and executive level assignments included patrol, detective, internal affairs, quality assurance, and administration. In 1999 he was appointed as Chief of Detectives for Chester County, PA where he formed a computer forensic unit; and after 9/11, became the Chester County representative to the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council in the Eastern District of PA. As a current consultant to the National Institute of Justice, Professor DiGiacomo reviews DOJ grant applications regarding forensic science projects. Additionally he provides services as an expert consultant in matters of police liability and training. He is a graduate of the 186th Session of the FBI National Academy.

Courses Taught: Organized Crime, Criminal Investigation, Violent Crime, White Collar Crime, Policing, Terrorism, Environmental Crime, Police Technology, Contemporary Issues in Law Enforcement

Shannon Grugan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Rutgers University , Ph.D. Criminal Justice
West Chester University, M.S. Criminal Justice

From 2004 through 2014, Miss Grugan served as a Senior Environmental Policy and Enforcement Consultant for the firm of Booz Allen Hamilton and worked with several government organizations and agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Unites States Army, and the Department of Health and Human Services, on investigative and enforcement related issues. Prior to joining the faculty of West Chester University, Miss Grugan also taught courses in cybercrime and crime and the physical environment at Rutgers University. She has authored several government reports, articles, and book chapters, with her work featured in The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Animal Cruelty: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Understanding, and Pennsylvania's Criminal Justice System. Her forthcoming dissertation examines undergraduate student perceptions of risk and safety, as well as their experiences with and perceptions of police in different university campus environments. Her other research interests include animal cruelty, environmental crime, and cybercrime.


Courses Taught: Theories of Crime and Delinquency, Criminological Theory, Introduction to the Criminal Justice System, Research Design and Analysis

Barbara Kaufmann, J.D.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Temple University School of Law, J.D.

Dr. Kauffman has Bar Certifications in the States of Pennsylvania and Kentucky. She is also admitted to practice in the Federal Courts of Pennsylvania. Before coming to West Chester University, Dr. Kauffman worked as a Public Defender in Philadelphia, and as a Federal Defender in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Dr. Kauffman graduated from Temple University School of Law and upon graduation went to work in Kentucky doing Legal Services in Appalachia.

Courses Taught: Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminal Law, Gender, Crime, and Justice, Contemporary Legal Issues

Brian O'Neill, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice
City University of New York, Ph.D. Criminal Justice
Marywood College, M.S.W.

Dr. Brian O’Neill earned his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the City University of New York in 2001. He has been teaching for the past twenty years, and has been a professor at West Chester University since 1998. Previously Dr. O’Neill earned his M.S.W. from Marywood College and was employed as a social worker for ten years. His publications include research on minority overrepresentation in the juvenile justice system in detention and out-of-home placement and an historical case study on the insanity defense. In addition, Dr. O’Neill wrote, narrated and produced, El Padre y Los Homies, a radio documentary about Father Greg Boyle, the founder of Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention program in Los Angeles. Dr. O’Neill has taught a number of Inside/Out courses to incarcerated individuals at Montgomery County Correctional Facility. Dr. O’Neill is currently conducting research for a book on commutation of individuals who were originally sentenced to life in prison.  His research interests include:  corrections, juvenile justice, and history of the criminal justice system.

Courses Taught:  Corrections, Juvenile Justice, Restorative Justice, Theories, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Research Methods, Race, Ethnicity, and Criminal Justice

Jana Nestlerode, J.D.

Professor of Criminal Justice
Widener University School of Law, J.D.
Pennsylvania State University, B.A.

Professor Nestlerode was in private law practice before joining the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor in the trial division. She brings her years of experience in that position to her academic endeavors at WCU. She has authored articles and/or presented research papers on women’s issues, the Fourth Amendment, the exclusionary rule, election fraud, pharmaceutical battery and hate crimes. She is the co-founder of the Chester County Coalition for Voting Integrity. She was recently nominated by West Chester University for U.S. Professor of the Year (2012). Her research interests include Fourth Amendment and Ninth Amendment issues, election fraud, and pharmaceutical battery.

Courses Taught: Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Contemporary Legal Issues, Notable Criminal Cases, Evidence and Advocacy, Applied Legal Studies, Criminal Jurisprudence, Controversial Criminal Jurisprudence, Justice Studies, and a topical seminar on Sex, Drugs and the Bill of Rights.

Christopher Przemieniecki, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

University of North Dakota, Ph.D.

Chris Przemieniecki earned his Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota in 2012.  Prior to arriving to West Chester, he taught at Montgomery County CC (MCCC) where he served as an Assistant Professor and advised the Criminal Justice Student Club.  While at MCCC, the CJ Club received numerous awards including ‘Club of the Year’ honors and Przemieniecki was awarded with ‘Advisor of the Year’ honors.  He has also taught at University of Minnesota-Crookston and other two- and four-year institutions in Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota and Tennessee.  In 2006, Przemieniecki received the Frederic M. Thrasher Award from the National Gang Crime Research Center (NGCRC) for “Superior Academic Research”.  He is a peer-review editor for the Journal of Gang Research and has published articles about gangs, the mass media and gangs, and social deviance.  He is a member of the American Society of Criminology and is a frequent speaker at law enforcement/gang conferences throughout the country.  His research interests include criminological theory, street gangs, crime and the media, juvenile justice, qualitative research, and ethics.  Dr. Przemieniecki is a faculty co-advisor to the Criminal Justice Club (Sigma Tau Omicron).


Courses Taught:  Introduction to Criminal Justice, Gangs in Society, Criminology, Criminal Law & Procedures, Crime and the Media, Juvenile Justice & Delinquency, Organized Crime, Social Deviance, Introduction to Sociology, Criminal Investigation, Ethics in Criminal Justice, and Correctional Process           

Cassandra Reyes, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

Assessment Coordinator
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, M.A. and Ph.D. Criminology

Dr. Reyes worked as a Probation Officer-Bilingual and a Senior Parole Officer-Bilingual for the State of New Jersey for approximately 10 years. In addition, she worked as a dispatcher for the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Police Department for 3½ years and as a Correctional Officer at the Indiana County Jail for a short time before coming to West Chester University of Pennsylvania in August 2009. Dr. Reyes recently co-edited Animal Cruelty: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Understanding with Dr. Mary Brewster. Additional publications include Of Fists and Fangs: An exploration of the degree to which the Graduate Hypothesis predicts future adolescent delinquency and aggression. Additionally, she has published an article in the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation and has written several entries for online encyclopedias.

Dr. Reyes has served as a manuscript reviewer for the American Journal of Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice Review, Criminology, Feminist Criminology, International Criminal Justice Reviews, The Prison Journal, Violence Against Women, and as a manuscript reviewer for Sage Publications. She is also a member of the Editorial Committee for PASSHE’s Keystone Journal.   Her research interests include:  animal cruelty, corrections, juvenile delinquency, theories of crime and delinquency, violence, and victimology.

Courses Taught: Introduction to Criminal Justice. Theories of Crime and Delinquency, Animal Cruelty, and Corrections, Research Design and Data Analysis, Proseminar