At the Center for Justice Research we will ask the most relevant and necessary questions to produce data and analysis so that we are able to improve decision making during the earlier stages of the criminal justice system.
Research has unequivocally demonstrated that it is in this pre-incarceration phase of the criminal justice system where procedural injustices have the greatest effect of public safety, fiscal allocation, and the overall levels of fundamental fairness. Unfortunately, it is at these initial phases of the criminal justice system where the police, prosecutors and judges have the least amount of information about the citizens they are making decisions on and how best to address the behaviors. As a result, findings indicate that many early phase criminal justice decisions are made absent of the scientific understanding of the best approaches – more often they are based on emotional and political responses. In fact, we often find that the least likely to reoffend receive the more severe punishment, all the while, the higher risked are released back into society without the proper level of supervision or treatment.
We aim to change the paradigm under which HBCUs address criminal justice reform, in particular, mass incarceration, by developing objective, evidence-based, policy changing research. Ultimately, we seek to serve as a Center focused on advancing criminal justice research by: (a) providing practically relevant, interdisciplinary and policy-driven criminal justice research for the reduction of mass incarceration, (b) improving the research capacity for HBCU faculty researchers, and (c) training the next generation of criminal justice researchers in advanced and innovative research methods with significant policy implications. With the aforementioned objectives, our research center continues to focus on providing a data-driven approach in those areas directly leading to mass incarceration.