Amy B. Smoyer, PhD

Prison Food, Incarcerated Lives, Health & Social Work

Amy's CV (PDF)

Amy B. Smoyer is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Southern Connecticut State University. Her program of research examines the structural determinants of health and health disparities. Her current work focuses on the experiences of incarceration and reentry and the implications of these experiences on health outcomes, with attention to women’s health, food-related wellness, and HIV care and prevention.

Amy in Danish jail.jpg

For Spring 2017, Amy has been awarded the Joan Finn Junior Faculty Research Fellowship, protected time to work her portfolio of studies about the lived experience of incarceration. The title of her project is: Prison at the Margins: Understanding the Intersecting Vulnerabilities of Incarcerated Lives.  Her goals for the semester include publishing findings from her research about HIV-positive and transgender people in prison. She will also be presenting her research at different forums within the Connecticut State University system and developing intervention grants to implement food justice programs in correctional settings.

In the past, Amy spent two months in Denmark teaching and conducting research about Danish prison food systems as a Fulbright Scholar. She was also the Principal Investigator on a mixed-methods NIMH-funded pilot study about the prison food experiences of incarcerated people with HIV in Rhode Island, the prevalence of overweight/obesity among this population, and the impact of incarceration on their weight-related health outcomes.  Amy’s collaborative work includes contributing to the analysis of data collected in the SHARRPP study, a mixed-methods project about the impact of criminal justice systems on HIV risk. (PI: Kim M. Blankenship, NIDA 1R01-DA025021).

Amy has an ongoing partnership with the York Correctional Institution, Connecticut's prison/jail facility for women, New Haven's Fresh Start Re-Entry Program, and Evergreen Family Services, a community-based program that supports men and women returning to New Haven from prison. She is also an active resident of New Haven's Fair Haven Heights neighborhood.