Dr. Frank Ferdik


Dr. Frank Ferdik, Assistant Professor in the Criminology & Criminal Justice Department, has conducted research on correctional officer risk perceptions and decision-making. Other research topics have included correctional officer turnover intentions, police legitimacy – trust or distrust of law enforcement – as well as police use of lethal force and the effectiveness of drug courts at reducing incarceration.

Ferdik’s findings have been published in refereed journals such as American Journal of Criminal Justice, Police Quarterly, Criminal Justice Studies, Psychology, Crime and Law and Journal of Criminal Justice. He also co-authored technical reports for South Carolina government agencies on arrest-related deaths, risk perceptions of correctional officers, and correctional officer job satisfaction. Recently he submitted a grant proposal to the National Institute of Justice on correctional officer injuries, and is awaiting the final award decision.

Ferdik graduated from the University of South Carolina with a PH.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice in 2014, a few months before he joined UWF’s faculty. He teaches several graduate and undergraduate courses, including Criminal Justice Ethics; Criminal Justice Research Methods and Terrorism.

Degrees & Institutions:

Ferdik received his bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice at Excelsior College. He went on to receive a master's degree in English and a master's degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Ferdik then earned his doctorate in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina.


  • Perceptions of Police Legitimacy
  • Police Use of Force
  • Correctional Officer Risk Perceptions and Decision-Making
  • Correctional Officer Workplace Fatal and Non-Fatal Injuries

Current Courses:

  • Criminal Justice System
  • Research Design in Criminal Justice

Classes Taught:

    • Ethics and the Justice System
    • Terrorism
    • Graduate Level Research Methods in Criminal Justice
    • Comparative Criminal Justice Systems


    Referred Publications (*denotes student co-author) 

    • Ferdik, F. (2016). An investigation into the risk perceptions held by maximum security correctional officers. Psychology, Crime and Law. DOI 10.1080/1068316X.2016.1194985. 
    • Ferdik, F., & Smith, H.P. (2015). Maximum security correctional officers: An exploratory investigation into their social bases of power. American Journal of Criminal Justice. DOI 10.1007/s12103-015-9307-5. 
    • Ferdik, F., Gist, J*., & Blasco, N*. (2015). Perceived police legitimacy: Investigating its association with college-based informal social controls. Psychology, Crime and Law. DOI: 10.1080/1068316X.2015.1085982. 
    • Ferdik, F. (2014). The influence of strain on law enforcement legitimacy evaluations. Journal of Criminal Justice. Vol. 42, p. 443-451. 
    • Ferdik, F., Kaminksi, R.J., Cooney, M., & Sevigny, E. (2014). The influence of agency policies on conducted energy device use and police use of lethal force. Police Quarterly. DOI: 10.1177/1098611114548098. 
    • Ferdik, F., Smith, H.P., & Applegate, B. (2014). The role of emotional dissonance and job desirability in predicting correctional officer turnover intentions. Criminal Justice Studies. DOI 10.1080/1478601X.2014.938741. 
    • Ferdik, F., Wolfe, S., & Blasco, N. (2013). Informal social controls, procedural justice, and police legitimacy: Do social bonds influence evaluations of police legitimacy? American Journal of Criminal Justice. Vol. 39 (3), p. 471-492. 
    • Ferdik, F., Rojek, J., & Alpert, G. (2013). Citizen oversight in the United States and Canada: An overview. Police Practice and Research: An International Journal. Vol. 14 (2), p. 97-111. 
    • Sevigny, E., Fuleihan, B., & Ferdik, F. (2013). Do drug courts reduce the use of incarceration?: A meta-analysis. Journal of Criminal Justice. Vol. 41(6), p. 416-425. 

    Non-Referred Publications 

    • Alpert, G.P., Cawthray, T., Rojek, J., & Ferdik, F. (2015). Citizen oversight in the United States and Canada: Applying outcome measures and evidence-based practices. In Prenzler, T., & den Heyer, G. (Eds.), Civilian oversight of police: Advancing accountability in law enforcement. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. 
    • Ferdik, F. (2014). Beck, Ulrech (globalization, risk thesis and cosmopolitanism). Sage Encyclopedia of Surveillance, Security and Privacy.
    • Ferdik, F. (2013). Risk Society and Politics. Sage Encyclopedia of Criminal Justice Ethics
    • Ferdik, F. (2013). Perception is reality: A qualitative approach to understanding police officers views on civil liability. International Police Executive Symposium's Working Paper Series No. 49.

Keywords: corrections officers’ risk factors, corrections officers’ turnover reasons, police legitimacy, police use of lethal force, arrest-related deaths, drug courts and incarceration, terrorism