Assessing the Impact of Prison-Based Postsecondary Education 

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) launched a research initiative to develop a Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) framework that will help Higher Education in Prison (HEP) practitioners assess the impact of programs and processes. The Center for Justice Research and researchers from Columbia University assist in the program’s methodological development and evaluation.  The final framework will be informed by an advisory council composed of HEP practitioners, researchers, and advocates committed to developing a common set of indicators that detail the impact of postsecondary education on re-entry outcomes.

Big Data - Community Policing Workshop 

The Big Data - Community Policing Conference Workshop co-sponsored with Measure Austin, focuses on law enforcement, community members, students, and stakeholders for a capacity-building training. Participants learn about some of the newest practices of evidence-based community policing, smart technology, and design thinking from research analysts, tech developers, and community leaders nationwide.

Community-Level Juvenile Justice Diversion Program

Center for Justice Researchers are working with the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation to understand how their juvenile justice diversion program can improve the overall quality of life by enhancing community development, health, and public safety. On this project we seek to better understand the local juvenile justice system, their use of evidence-based strategies to improve outcomes in public safety, and assess the impact of interventions on both public safety and community development.

Jury Participation, Race and Sentencing Disparities

This project examines the impact of jury racial composition on trial outcomes using a unique data set of felony and misdemeanor trials in Texas between 2000 and 2019. We utilize a research design that exploits day-to-day variation in the composition of the jury pool to isolate quasi-random variation in the composition of the seated jury. 

Police Reform Advisory Group

In the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death and the resulting national outcry for systemic policing reforms, we formed a National Police Reform Advisory Group. This expert-laden advisory group will help chart the national response for the sustainable improvement of police-community relations.

Prosecutor Workload Determination and Sentencing Outcomes

As media attention increases about overworked, overburdened, and underfunded district attorney offices, there is little to no evidence-based research detailing an appropriate number of cases per a prosecutor to management, nor at there any guidelines to assess their caseloads. Our research analyzes prosecutor workload determinations and their impact of sentencing outcomes. 

Qualified Immunity Project

This project analyzes the use of the legal doctrine of qualified immunity and its application throughout the past forty years. Rather than evaluating its effectiveness in shielding police  and other government officials from frivolous lawsuits, we question whether the use of qualified immunity in legitimate cases outweighs the protection it gives from more questionable claims.  

Race, COVID-19 and Public Defenders 

Despite the disparate impact of COVID-19 on Black communities, the criminal legal system’s response has rarely (if at all) centered on race. The Center for Justice Research and the Black Public Defender Association are partnering on a project to  address the impact of COVID-19 on incarcerated people and the larger Black community from both the Black public defender and public health perspective.

Reentry Dashboard

Center for Justice Research s experts in identifying  and reducing systematic, structural and After several conversations with local community leaders, the justice-involved, and returning citizens, it became clear that there was no online portal available to advertise Texas re-entry services. As full re-acclimation into society should be a guaranteed right after serving a debt to society, the Texas Southern University Center for Justice Research, with the support of January Advisors, created this re-entry dashboard. Compiling over 4,600 Texas re-entry services improves access to rehabilitative services for the thousands of returning citizens, their families and service providers in the name of criminal desistance and improved public safety.

Researcher Development Program

We cultivate a small community of graduate students.  Our goal is to increase the number of minority justice-oriented researchers who focus on dismantling the unnecessary barriers between the police and the community, while also providing scientific approaches to the reduction of mass incarceration and reducing the racial/ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system

Risk Terrain Modeling Police- Citizen Encounters w/ Texas Justice Initiative

In this study, we address gaps in existing research by showing how physical features of a landscape increase the risk of police-citizen use of force encounters.

School Disciplinaries and Stakeholder Engagement

This research analyzes the school discipline data, controlling for the exhibited behavior used to justify discipline. Our goal is to better understand just what behaviors were demonstrated that motivated school disciplinaries but to also engage the key stakeholders in this process.   We evaluate the Race/Ethnicity of student and teacher, Campus Type, Grade Level, Gender, Economic Disadvantage and Reasons for Suspension of each student disciplined. To better understand the nature of multiple suspensions and the ability of suspensions to deter delinquent behavior, we also examine the degree and extent to which multiple suspensions exist.


Training and Continuing Education

Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment

This course is designed for agency level researchers and administrators who are interested in learning how to implement culturally responsive evaluations. This online or face-to-face course includes ten modules which can be taken together or independently.

Judicial Education Program

This course is for judges and the courtroom workgroup and on transparency, accountability, inclusion, and sustainability, all of which have been shown to improve decision-making, reduce disparities, and improve public safety.  The course will expose individuals to key elements used to tackle inequality in the decision-making process. The training will facilitate an environment that is interdisciplinary and interactive.

Research and Statistics for Justice Reform

This course presents essential principles of applied research design and data analysis to prepare participants to engage in informed reformatory criminal justice policy and decision making. Course materials integrate foundational elements of research methods, data analysis, and data visualization. Upon course completion, students will be able to: 1) identify, synthesize, and evaluate empirical evidence; 2) select appropriate analysis techniques while considering unique attributes of agency data types and sources; and 3) summarize and translate relevant findings into policy, practice, and/or procedures for a more equitable approach.

Systems Thinking and Justice Reform

This course is designed for agency level researchers and administrators who are interested in learning systems thinking methodologies and methods, the characteristics of complex systems, and the process of using systems thinking in justice reform efforts from a culturally responsive perspective.