D. Michael Applegarth

D. Michael Applegarth

PhD Candidate


BSW (Brigham Young University Idaho), MSW (Brigham Young University)

Areas of Interest:

Community Supervision, Criminal Justice, Desistance from Crime, Juvenile Justice, Mental Illness and Recovery, Reentry



Michael Applegarth is a fifth-year PhD candidate. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from Brigham Young University-Idaho and with his master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from Brigham Young University. Michael primary area of research examines the intersection of the criminal justice system and mental health as part of the overall mission to reduce mass incarceration and improve wellbeing. This area of research is critical due to the high incarceration and reincarceration of people with mental health challenges and the need to identify supportive strategies to facilitate community reintegration following incarceration. Michael’s general research interests include the criminal justice system, reentry, mental illness and recovery, community supervision, juvenile justice, and desistance from crime.

Michael has received competitive training fellowships with the National Institute of Justice and the Rand Corporation. During these fellowships he regularly worked on several multidisciplinary teams examining a wide range of justice related areas including the intersection of technology and predicting recidivism, factors that lead to desistance from crime, program evaluation, and empirically driven best practices for system involved youth. Michael has also worked as a research assistant with Professor Abrams on several projects including assessing MSW students’ behaviors and cognitions relating to racism, colorblindness, and social work education, examining the desistance process and reentry of individuals who were sentences to life without parole as juveniles, identified common needs of youth exiting detention, and evaluated reentry services of young adults exiting Los Angeles County Jail. Michael’s primary skill set includes quantitative data analysis, but he also has experience in qualitative interviewing. Michael has published in several journals including Social Service Review, Marquette Law Review, and Children and Youth Services Review.