Ben Mackey

Graduate Research Assistant

Benjamin Mackey is a Research Associate at the Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!) and a doctoral student in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University. His work at ACE! focuses on community supervision and the nexus of the public health and criminal legal systems. He graduated from George Mason University with a B.S. and M.A. in Criminology, Law and Society in 2019 and 2021, respectively. In addition to his academic experience, Benjamin has experience in the field of reentry, where he worked with a nonprofit reentry organization to help address the needs of people who are currently or formerly incarcerated.

Benjamin’s area of research is in the sociology of punishment. He focuses on community corrections, which he studies broadly to include not only probation and parole agencies, but also entities often considered “outside” the formal criminal legal system such as nonprofit organizations, private companies, public health agencies, and individual community members.
Research interests:

  • Reentry
  • Community supervision
  • Corrections
  • Qualitative methods
  • Survey research

Projects working on:


What is so fascinating about one research project you are working on at ACE!

Working with practitioners and folks involved in the criminal legal system to develop practice guidelines for supervision agencies, I’m constantly fascinated by the areas where perspectives from the two sides align and where they diverge.

How do you think working on ACE! projects will make you a better researcher?

Hands-on work with practitioners and system-impacted folks is always valuable.  It’s very helpful to hear from people on the ground exactly how different policies and practices work (and sometimes don’t!)

If you had to give advise to an agency about evidence-based practices, what would that be.

For me, step 1 will always be to think about the big-picture implications of a practice.  Even if the evidence shows it’s effective at achieving an outcome, it’s important to consider how it actually does so—especially who it may help and who it may harm along the way.