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Paul Tracy

Paul E. Tracy, Ph.D. Professor


Methodology & statistical analysis; criminal careers.

Educational Background

Ph.D. from University of Pennsylvania


Paul E. Tracy is a professor with 32 years of academic experience. He is currently Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He has held previous faculty appointments at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the School of Social Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, and the College of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University. He has also held significant administrative appointments at these previous institutions as Director of Graduate programs, Program Chair, and Research Center Director. 

Tracy’s research interests focus on the measurement and analysis of juvenile delinquencycareers, legal and policyissues in juvenile justice, prediction models of criminal careers, and drug prohibition policy. He is a recognized expert in the application of longitudinal research designs to the study of delinquent and criminal careers. His study of a large Philadelphia birth cohort of 27,160 people is the largest study of delinquency and crime ever conducted and is now in its 32nd year. Through his research he has developed particular expertise in studying the origins of criminal careers and the factors associated with becoming a chronic recidivist. He has published seven books and numerous articles in criminology journals. 

He has been extensively involved in working to improve the criminal justice system by applying his research and policy interests to "real life" applications. While in Texas, he was appointed to two statewide Juvenile Justice Task Forces, first by former Governor George Bush and later by present Governor Rick Perry. These Task Force appointments involved advising the governor and the legislature on areas where the penal code needed revision. He also worked as a consultant to the Texas Criminal Justice Division in the Office of the Governor to identify and redress the differential handling of minorities in the criminal justice system, including racial profiling. Through these experiences, Tracy came to appreciate the need for strategic research to support improved policy responses to criminal careers and especially within the venue of court administration and judicial decision-making. 

Tracy has teaching expertise in a wide array of criminology and criminal justice courses including Multivariate Statistics, Structural Equations Modeling, Advanced Topics in Research Design, Crime and Civil Liberties, Homicide and Capital Punishment, Juvenile Law, Juvenile Delinquency, and Law and Social Control. 

He is also Editor of the scholarly journal Crime and Delinquency, and under his direction, the journal has become one of the top ranked journals in Criminology and Criminal Justice.