With a background in domestic and foreign criminal justice systems, Dr. Jonathan Rosen joins Holy Family University’s School of Arts and Sciences as its newest Criminal Justice professor. Dr. Rosen has been on faculty at Florida International University in Miami and the University of Oaxaca in Mexico, providing a unique, well-rounded perspective as an instructor. Dr. Rosen sat down with Holy Family University to discuss how he ended up in Northeast Philadelphia, his research interests, and his passion for studying crime.
HFU: Can you tell us more about your background and how you came to Holy Family University?
JR: “I did my PhD at the University of Miami and my master’s degree at Columbia University. Prior to joining Holy Family University, I worked at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. I love teaching and mentoring students. It is a true pleasure to be starting at Holy Family University as it has a unique student body.”
HFU: What made you interested in the Criminal Justice field?
JR: “I have always been interested in studying and reading about crime. As an undergraduate, I began researching drug trafficking and organized crime. Such activities have created high levels of violence. In Mexico, for example, 100,000 people died between 2006 and 2012 from drug-related violence. Moreover, I have been studying other security related issues, such as gangs and prisons. These issues are crucial public policy topics that policymakers, scholars, activists, and other members of society must address.”
HFU: Do you have any specific research interests you could tell us about?
JR: “The majority of my publications have been on drug trafficking, organized crime, prisons, and gangs. I have focused on security-related issues not only in the United States but also in other countries in the Americas. For instance, I have published in both English and Spanish on drug trafficking and organized crime in Mexico and Colombia. Currently, I am working on several publications about gangs—particularly MS-13. Finally, it is not possible to study criminal issues without understanding the prison system. Several colleagues and I have been working on studying prisons in the Americas, focusing on some of the major trends and challenges.”
HFU: You’ve previously been on faculty at the University of Oaxaca in Mexico. Are there differences in how criminal justice is perceived, studied, or discussed in Mexico compared to the United States?
JR: “In general, I believe that the social sciences in Mexico—as well as other countries in Europe—tend to be very interdisciplinary. In my opinion, it is not possible to understand many topics in criminal justice without analyzing sociological, political, economic, and even public policy issues. Research in the United States that is published in top journals is very sophisticated in terms of methodology, but sometimes the scope is more narrow. I believe that one should use the appropriate methods to answer the research questions at hand.”
HFU: Do you have any hobbies you like to do for fun outside of Holy Family?
JR: “I really enjoy living in big cities. Philadelphia has a great deal of culture and history to explore.”