Profile for Jennifer Trost

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Jennifer Trost

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Associate Professor
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

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Specialty area(s)

History of Identity Theft and Impersonation; Swindling; History of Identification and Surveillance Policy; White-Collar Crime; Juvenile Legal Policy

Brief biography

Since I grew up in the segregated South, I have been interested in how different groups of people experience the American legal system and how those differences contribute to crime policy. My book Gateway to Justice: The Juvenile Court and Progressive Child Welfare in a Southern City explored the origins and workings of the juvenile legal system in Memphis, Tennessee. My current research is about the history of identity theft and impersonation in America, beginning with the Impostor Rule and ending with the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998. I trace the evolution of different ways of identifying people such as formal names, credit ratings, the passport, fingerprinting, driver licenses, and financial authorization codes and how identification is used for surveillance by both the state and private groups. As a policy historian, I try to do as much as possible to correct misinformation about crime and the people labelled as criminals, and to explain why we have the criminal legal system we do.

I grew up in Lubbock, Texas.

Current courses at UWL

Crime and Punishment in America
Government and Society
Introduction to Public and Policy History 
Money: A History
Money and Crime
US Reform Movements
World History


Ph.D. History and Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania
M.S. Applied History, Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania
B.A. History, Southwestern University, Texas


Teaching history

American History Survey
Comparative Criminal Justice Systems
History of American Drug Policy
History of Crime and Punishment in America 
Juvenile Justice 
Riots and Rioting in America 
World History

Professional history

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Utica College, New York 2008-2013

Visiting Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Muskingum University, Ohio 2006-2007

Associate Professor of History, Saint Leo University, Florida 2005-2007

Assistant Professor of History, Saint Leo University, Florida 2000-2005

Research and publishing

"The Impostor Rule and Identity Theft in America, " Law and History Review, May 2017.

"From Juvenile Court to Safe Haven: The Lessons of Juvenile Justice History and the 2008 Nebraska Safe Haven Law," Criminal Justice Review, September 2013.

Gateway to Justice: The Juvenile Court and Progressive Child Welfare in a Southern City, University of Georgia Press, 2005.



Jennifer Trost, History, elected to the La Crosse City Council on April 6. She was sworn into office on April 20 and will be representing the residents, organizations, and businesses in District 11 in La Crosse for a four-year term. This is her first time serving in public office.

Submitted on: April 21, 2021



Jennifer Trost, History, was named to a two-year term of Neighborhood Revitalization Commission (NRC) of the City of La Crosse. Trost was appointed by Mayor Tim Kabat. The NRC advises the Common Council on housing issues and recommends capital improvement projects.

Submitted on: Sept. 4, 2015