Dr. Charles Bell is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice Sciences at Illinois State University. He is a recipient of the 2017 American Society of Criminology Ruth D. Peterson Fellowship. His research focuses on understanding how Black students and parents perceive school discipline and its impact on academic achievement, social status, relationships with educators, parent employment, and perceptions of metal detectors, school guards, and law enforcement officers. Dr. Bell's work is supported by the Midwest Sociological Society and a series of research grants from Illinois State University. He has been interviewed and cited by several news outlets such as Atlanta Black Star, The Conversation, WGLT,  WDET Detroit, Aljazeera America, WWMT Kalamazoo, Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency, Brigham Young University Radio, and Detroit PBS. He teaches courses on Corrections and Race & Ethnicity in Criminal Justice. Dr. Bell is a certified Inside-Out instructor and he is creating a Schools, Crime, and Social Policy course that will be taught in a correctional facility. As a first-generation college graduate, Dr. Bell mentors several students and makes it a priority to share his experiences navigating poverty in Detroit to earn his Ph.D.

Dr. Charles Bell Speaking
Wrongful Conviction Panel Photos
Dr. Bell Speaking At Kalamazoo College
Dr. Bell Speaking To Youth
School Discipline Panel
Dr. Bell Presenting Research
Dr. Bell Speaking On Detroit TV Panel
Dr. Bell Speaking At Oakland County Parent Expo


Dr. Bell's primary research agenda focuses on understanding the structural barriers marginalized social groups experience in the education setting and how they contribute to incarceration via the school-to-prison-pipeline. His research shows school discipline has profound consequences on Black families as it exacerbates bullying and violent physical altercations, has a negative influence on achievement, school belonging, and student-teacher relationships. Additionally, his work shows Black students and their parents harbor negative perceptions of out-of-school suspension because their voices are marginalized throughout the disciplinary period, students' feel targeted for suspension based on their style of dress, hair, and music preference, and excessive school suspensions lead to "Black educational flight".


 Dr. Bell's secondary research agenda focuses on educator targeted violence. Specifically, Dr. Bell is completing a study that explores educators' experiences with violence on school grounds, perceptions of school safety, and school discipline in Michigan and Illinois. His current book, SUSPENDED: Punishment, Violence, and the Failure of School Safety, expands upon this work and is under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press.



Every year, thousands of individuals are released from prisons in the United States. They face many challenges, including finding stable living conditions and gaining employment.

Charles Bell, professor of the Department of Criminal Justice Sciences (CJS) at Illinois State University designed a virtual mass incarceration panel to help students and researchers understand how factors like poverty, poor education, and community violence can adversely affect formerly incarcerated individuals. This panel included individuals who had navigated the carceral settings and were willing to share their lived experiences to help students gain an in-depth understanding of course concepts.

“Each of the panelists is currently employed within the criminal justice system in a novel manner,” Bell said.



Black students’ and parents’ perceptions of school discipline will be the subject of the African American Studies Fall Lecture at Illinois State University on November 11.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Charles Bell will give the talk at 4 p.m. in the Rosa Parks Room of Watterson Towers. The event is free and open to the public.

African American elementary and high school-aged children are suspended at disproportionally high rates throughout the U.S. and in Bloomington-Normal. Bell, who researches how school suspensions harm African American families, will present a paper on the effects of racial bias in Illinois and Michigan. Bell will explore the impact of race and socioeconomic status on suspension rates in predominantly white high schools as well as the effects of suspensions on both African American students’ academic performance and perceptions of school safety.

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· 2019 - Multi-Ethnic Cultural Programming Advisory Committee Grant, Illinois State University
· 2019 - Student Sustainability Research Grant, Illinois State University
· 2019 - University Research Grant, Illinois State University
· 2019 - Research Grant, Midwest Sociological Society
· 2019 - African American Studies Summer Research Grant, Illinois State University
· 2019 - Teaching Innovations Grant, Illinois State University
· 2018 - Student Sustainability Research Grant, Illinois State University
· 2018 - Culturally Responsive Learning Grant, Illinois State University
· 2018 - Professional Development Award, Illinois State University
· 2017 - Ruth Peterson Fellowship, American Society of Criminology
· 2017 - 2018 Thomas C. Rumble Fellowship, Wayne State University
· 2017 - Dissertation Research Support Grant, Wayne State University
· 2017 - Conference Scholarship, Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health             
                                                     · 2016 - Graduate Research Grant, Wayne State University                                                       · 2016 - 2017 Thomas C. Rumble Fellowship, Wayne State University
· 2016 – Mary Sengstock Diversity Scholarship, Wayne State University
· 2015 – Graduate Scholar Award, International Conference on Learning
· 2014 – Graduate Scholar Award, International Conference on Learning
· 2014 – 2016 Initiative for Maximizing Student Development
· 2014 – Promotion of Diversity Scholarship, Wayne State University



Educational Attainment, School Discipline, Violence, Mass Incarceration, & Wrongful Conviction

National Action Panel Discussion
Dr. Bell Speaking With The Honorable Judge Mathis, Brenda Hill, Ralph Godbee (Former Detroit Police
Dr. Bell's Mass Incarceration Series
Dr. Bell's Wrongful Conviction Series
Kalamazoo College Speaking Event
Dr. Bell Speaking At Oakland County Parent Expo
Illinois State University Panel Discussion
Dr. Bell hosts African American Excellent Event
Dr. Bell Mass Incarceration Speaking Series


Illinois State University
440 Schroeder Hall
Normal, IL 61790


©2019 by Dr. Charles Bell

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