Tara Lyons, PhD, is a Faculty member in the Department of Criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and a Research Scientist with the Gender & Sexual Health Initiative of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Dr. Lyons' research explores the relationships between health, gender, sexuality, and the criminalization of sex work and drug use. She is currently leading research projects on experiences of queer women and trans* persons in drug use and sex work environments using a variety of methods, including ethnography, photography, quantitative analysis.
Dr. Lyons has worked extensively within social justice activism, including prison justice and drug policy reform. She served as the executive director of the Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy for 3 years. Her research program has been developed to document the effects of criminalization on the health of marginalized populations and to shape relevant social, legal, and policy reforms. Her PhD research examining Ottawa's drug treatment court informed witness presentations and briefs to the Justice and Human Rights Parliamentary Committee and the Senate Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs as they deliberated mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses legislation. Dr. Lyons also co-authored the first legal report examining drug treatment courts in Canada (PDF) with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. Throughout her academic career, Dr. Lyons has actively engaged in knowledge translation activities across academic, community, and policy settings. She has delivered over 75 presentations to researchers, community groups, students, and policymakers.