Research Feature: Professor Tri Keah Henry

The example of Harris is a striking one. During the 2020 presidential election campaign, Harris’s record as prosecutor and attorney general in the state of California was scrutinized, gathering criticism from both the left and the right. Because Harris campaigned both as a progressive prosecutor and as California’s “top cop,” her fraught prosecutorial history was suggestive of the issues Henry wants to examine.  

Adjusting to “Zoom school”

When Henry first joined the faculty of the Department of Criminal Justice at IU Bloomington in fall of 2020, she had to adjust both to pandemic-related “Zoom school” and life in a city much smaller than Houston, where she completed a Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University, focusing on racial stereotypes and gendered crimes.  She spent her first year as an assistant professor teaching courses to undergraduates about the intricacies of the court system and the broad field of criminal justice. Her students examine criminology issues from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Many plan to pursue careers in law enforcement. 

Already the author of numerous published articles on questions of racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in criminal justice processing, policing, and sentencing, she was attracted to IU as a Research 1 institution. Her new colleagues assured her that there is value to this work.  

“I was apprehensive about coming here at first,” she admits, “partly because I had never lived in the Midwest, or in a place the size of Bloomington. But then I became aware of the remarkable resources here, and my colleagues have been protective of my time, very generous and helpful. Winning this award has been encouraging, too.”