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Racheal E. Pesta

Assistant Professor - Criminology and Sociology
Sociology, Anthropology, Criminology and Social Work

Dr. Pesta is an Assistant Professor of Criminology who specializes in criminological theory as well as issues of social inequality in crime and the criminal justice system. Her current research focuses on the racial and gender disparity in the school-to-prison pipeline phenomenon. Prior to joining Eastern, Professor Pesta worked as a program manager in the juvenile court system. She earned her M.S. in Criminal Justice from Youngstown State University and her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Akron.

Research Interests
  • Criminological Theory
  • Race and Gender Inequalities
  • Effects of Punishment
Teaching Interests
  • Criminological Theory
  • The Death Penalty
  • Race, Gender, and the Criminal Justice System

Pesta, Racheal. (In Press). “Is the School-to-Prison Pipeline Just for Boys? The Effects of School Punishment across Gender.” Feminist Criminology. 

Pesta, Racheal and Robert Peralta. 2021. “Nonfatal Suicidal Behavior among a Sample of College Students: The Role of Gender as a Risk and Protective Factor.” Sociological Focus 54(4): 273-92. (DOI: 

Pesta, Racheal. 2021. “School Punishment, Deterrence, and Race: A Partial Test of Defiance Theory.” Crime & Delinquency 68(3): 463-94. (DOI:

Pesta, Racheal. 2018. “Labeling and the Differential Impact of School Discipline: Assessing Ethno-Racial Variation in the Pathways from School Exclusion to Criminal Offending.” Crime & Delinquency 64(11): 1489-1512.

Pesta, Racheal, Robert Peralta, and Meghan Novisky. 2016. “Utilizing a General Strain Framework to Examine Behavioral Responses to Psychological Intimate Partner Violence: Are Responses Gendered?” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 34(15): 3171-98.