Dr. James Densley is an Associate Professor in Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and an Associate of the Extra-Legal Governance Institute at the University of Oxford.
Densley's teaching and research interests include street gangs, criminal networks, violence, policing, and social theory. He is the author of How Gangs Work: An Ethnography of Youth Violence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), winner of the 2013 National Gang Crime Research Center Frederick Milton Thrasher Award for "Superior Accomplishments in Gang Research," and coauthor of Minnesota's Criminal Justice System (Carolina Academic Press, 2016), part of a unique state-specific series of comprehensive criminal justice textbooks.
Densley has published over 20 refereed articles and book chapters in leading social science outlets and has received local, national, and international media attention for his work—most recently on Viceland's Black Market with Michael K. Williams. He has also written for CNN, MinnPost, StarTribune, and The Sun.
Densley has been an invited or plenary speaker on three continents and has consulted on crime reduction projects for law enforcement agencies large and small. He contributed to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Review Commission) and the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. Densley co-founded Growing Against Gangs and Violence, an educational partnership with London's Metropolitan Police Service and forerunner to Growing Against Violence (Registered Charity No: 1163738), and is past President of the FBI Minneapolis Citizens Academy Alumni Association (FBIMCAAA).
Densley earned the D.Phil. and M.Sc. in Sociology from the University of Oxford (St. Antony's College), the M.S. in Teaching from Pace University, and the B.A. (Hons.) in Sociology with American Studies from the University of Northampton, where he is a celebrated alumnus. Densley is also a former NYC Teaching Fellow, certified to teach middle childhood education and students with disabilities.