A Foundation of Strengths. A Vision of Justice. A Mission of Change.
  • Home
  • Severson, Margaret

Margaret E. Severson, J.D., M.S.W.

J.D., Juris Doctor , University of Denver
Primary office:
Twente Hall
Room 120


Professor Severson teaches graduate students of social work in the MSW and PhD programs. Her research involves jail and prison mental health and suicide prevention programs, reentry services, social justice and human rights as related to prisoners and their families, and correctional systems organization and management. She provides consultation to the U.S. Department of Justice and to jails and prisons across the United States.


Teaching Responsibilities:

- PhD Program: (1) Social Work Practice: Discovering and Integrating "Best Practices" Through Inquiry and Research. (2) History and Philosophy of Social Work

- MSW Program: Mental Health and Psychopathology, Social Work Practice with Women, Clinical Social Work Practice I (advanced clinical practice), and Family Mediation.

- BSW/Undergraduate Program: Human Sexuality in Everyday Life (required course for the Sexuality and Gender minor; and open to all university students).

Teaching Interests

  • Social Welfare: Clinical Practice
  • Practice with Women
  • Evidence-Based Practices
  • Family and Civil Mediation
  • Psychopathology
  • History and Philosophy of Social Work


Pursuing and securing research funding and authoring publications that expand the knowledge base of the social work profession particularly in the area of the interface of social, civil, human and criminal justice, gender, community services and mental health systems

Research Interests

  • Jail and prison mental health and suicide prevention programs
  • Women prisoners
  • Reentry program evaluation
  • Service program assessments in jails
  • Organizational and community consulting
  • Jail environmental designs for mental health programs


Faculty Responsibilities:

Academic adviser, dissertation chair, dissertation committee member for PhD students

Academic adviser and field liaison for MSW students.

Participation in service activities consistent with the mission of the School of Social Welfare and the University of Kansas.

Adviser to joint MSW and JD degree students, clarifying the academic and advising responsibilities that exist between the School of Social Welfare and the School of Law.

Service on key administrative committees.

Courtesy faculty appointment in the Department of Women's Studies.

Selected Publications

Matejkowski, J. Lee, S. & Severson, M. E. (2018). Validation of a tool to measure attitudes among community corrections officers toward shared decision making with formerly incarcerated persons with mental illness. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 45(5), 612-627.

Severson, M. E., & Matejkowski, J. L. (2017). Douglas County Criminal Justice System Projects: Final Report. Douglas County Board of County Commissioner.

Rowe, D. Severson, M. E., & Huskey, B. L. (2016). Mental illness and the county jail: A new prescription . Corrections Today,(January/February 2016).

Veeh, C. Severson, M. E., & Lee, J. (2015). Evaluation of a serious and violent offender reentry initiative (SVORI) program in a Midwest state. Criminal Justice Policy Review. DOI:10.1177/0887403415575144 http://cjp.sagepub.com/content/early/recent

Matejkowski, J. Severson, M. E., & Manthey, T. (2015). Strategies for post-release supervision of individuals with serious mental illness: Comparing specialized community corrections officers to those not serving on a specialized team . Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. DOI:10.1080/10509674.2015.1076106 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10509674.2015.1076106

Severson, M. E. (2013). Crime and criminal behavior, revised (T. Mizrahi & L. E. Davis). The Encyclopedia of Social Work, 21st Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. and NASW Press.

Severson, M. E. (2013). Criminal Justice. Oxford Bibliographies in Social Work. Oxford University Press.

Severson, M. & Pettus, C. D. (2013). Parole officers' experiences of the symptoms of secondary trauma in the supervision of sex offenders. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 57, 5-24. DOI:10.1177/0306624X11422696

Matejkowski, J. Johnson, T. K., & Severson, M. E. (2013). Prison Social Work. Oxford University Press Online.

Severson, M. Bruns, K. Veeh, C. & Lee, J. (2012). Who goes back to prison and who does not: A multi-year view of reentry program participants. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 51, 295-315.

Severson, M. Bruns, K. Veeh, C. & Lee, J. (2011). Prisoner reentry programming: Who recidivates and when? Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 50(6), 327-348.

Choi, J. J., & Severson, M. (2009). "What! What kind of apology is this?": The nature of apology in victim offender mediation. Children and Youth Services Review, 31, 813-820.

Higgins, D. & Severson, M. (2009). Community re-entry and older adult offenders: Defining the social work role. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 52(8), 784-802.

Severson, M. (2009). Social policy and the correctional system. In J. Midgley & M. Livermore (Eds.), The handbook of social policy(2nd ed.) (pp. 463-484). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Choi, J. J., & Severson, M. (2009). Toward a culturally competent restorative justice practice framework: A focus on Asian Americans. Families in Society, 90(4), 399-406.

Berry, M. Johnson, T. Severson, M. & Postmus, J. (2009). Wives and mothers at risk: The role of marital and maternal status in criminal activity and incarceration. Families in Society, 90(3), 293-300.

Severson, M. Postmus, J. & Berry, M. (2009). Women's experiences of victimization and survival. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 36(2), 145-167.

Postmus, J. Severson, M. & Berry, M. (2009). Women's experiences of violence and seeking help. Violence Against Women, 15(7), 852-868.

Severson, M. & Duclos, C. W. (2005). Research in Practice Brief. Assessing suicide risk and behaviors among the incarcerated American Indian population: Investigating culturally sensitive risk assessment procedures for local detention facilities. Research in Practice.

Selected Presentations

Matejkowski, J. L. & Severson, M. E. (01/01/2018 - 01/31/2018). Predictors of shared decision-making with people who have a serious mental illness and who are under justice supervision in the community. Society for Social Work Research Annual Conference.. Washington DC

Matejkowski, J. & Severson, M. . (08/31/2016). Overview on baseline data and context for where Lawrence / Douglas County fit into the national discussion over incarceration and criminal justice and jail alternatives. Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council Retreat, . Lawrence, KS.

Matejkowski, J. & Severson, M. . (07/31/2016). Summary findings from the exploration of Douglas County jail population fluctuations. Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Lawrence, KS.

Social Welfare Events