Associate Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice
Western Carolina University
Dr. Kopak received his Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. Most of his work has focused on the connections between substance use disorders (SUDs) and criminal justice-related outcomes. He is currently working with the Jackson and Transylvania County Sheriff’s Offices on a federally funded project to examine the impact of SUDs and mental health conditions on jail readmission.
Dr. Kopak is also dedicated to reforming the front end of the criminal justice system through his role as the Director of Research for the Civil Citation Network. He advises the Network on research design, data collection, analysis, and the pursuit of external funding sources. The guiding principle of this work is to develop evidence-based practices that are designed to minimize the long-term impact of criminal justice system involvement on someone’s life, while taking the opportunity to address substance use, mental health, and other factors that may contribute to law enforcement contact.