CJRC Sponsored Research and Working Projects



Faculty Projects

“Criminal Record Questions on Job Applications as a Self-Selection Mechanism for Applying for Employment”

By Dr. Michael Vuolo, Sociology


Faculty Projects

“Triggers of Non State Mass Killings”

By Dr. Hollie Nyseth-Brehm, Sociology

“White Collar Crime and the Racial Wealth Gap” 

By Dr. Devin Fergus, African American and African Studies

“Juridical Genetics: Scientific Citizenship and Genetic Justice in South Africa” 

By Dr. Noah Tamarkin, Comparative Studies

Graduate Student Projects

"Discipline, Control, and Punishment: State Enforcement Practices in the US Asylum-Seeking Process at the Border"

By Sara Rodríguez-Argüelles Riva, PhD Candidate Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies 

My dissertation project is concerned with problematizing Central American nuclear families as objects of knowledge and governmental intervention. Through the analysis of primary and secondary sources I will explore the conjunction between knowledge and governmental practice. I will do so by, on the one hand, analyzing the state practices –specific tactics, techniques, and programs– that are enacted on Central American asylum-seeking families; and on the other, by paying attention to the intersections between knowledge/narratives of family –as an important social, cultural, and economic element in the US– and discourses about violence; motherhood; and narratives of US humanitarianism. For instance, US’ constantly positioning itself “as the site for authoritative condemnation” of human rights abuses elsewhere (Grewal 2005: 150), or its constant deployment of discourses on the importance of the family, while Central American asylum-seeking families are being detained and imprisoned at the border. These contradictions take place while these families are caught up in xenophobic discourses around criminality, welfare abuse, job stealing, or security, i.e. the health of the nation (Yeng 2014). What types of families, or kinship relations, does the state hold as valuable? How is the state reinforcing certain ideologies connected to family? What are the tensions between national discourses and practices on the ground? 

“The Implications of Attorney Representation on Juvenile Justice Decisions Leading to the Disproportionate Incarceration of African-American Youth”  

By Donna Ruch, Graduate Student Sociology Department


Faculty Projects

"The Employment Context of Prisoner Re-Entry"

By Dr. Paul E. Bellair, Sociology

"Mansion Day School: Reviving the Uplift Tradition"

By Dr. Simone C. Drake, African American and African Studies

"Sociospatial Exposure to Crime and Violence and Chronic Physiologic Stress among Urban Adolescents"

By Dr. Jodi L. Ford, College of Nursing

“Judicial Enslavement: Crime, Courts, and the Enslavement of Indians in Colonial New England” 

By Dr. Margaret E. Newell, History

“Analyzing Family Risk and Resilency Domains among Sexual Offenders, Nonsexual Offenders, and Criminally Versatile Youth”

By Dr. Jamie R. Yoder, Social Work

"Reduction in Illicit Drug Use and Functional Outcomes"

By Dr. Paul E. Bellair, Sociology


Faculty Projects

"Sober Turning Points in an 'Imprisoned Community': Reentry, Desistance and Faith at the DOPE Ministries"

By Dr. Townsand Price Spratlen, Sociology

This project analyzes the relationships between reentry, desistance, sobriety, and faith by conducting a multilevel case study of the DOPE (Drugs Out, Possibilities Endless) Ministries (pseudonym) and its affiliates.

"Unraveling Relations Among Employment, Drug Use, and Crime with a Weekly Calendar"

By Dr. Paul Bellair, Sociology

The objective of this project is to collect data to study the independent and joint influences of high quality employment experiences (full time versus part-time, emotional attachment, higher income, occupation) and neighborhood disadvantage (poverty, unemployment, presence of drug selling/open air drug markets) on usage of a variety of hard drugs and criminal involvement in a high-risk sample (probationers or prisoners).  

Graduate Student Projects

"The Effects of Educational Attainment on Incarceration and Post-incarceration Outcomes for Black Men"

By Royel Johnson, Ph.D. Student in Education

The United States (U.S.) boasts the highest incarceration rates in world, with more than 6.94 million individuals under some form of adult correctional supervision and over 2.2 million people locked beyond bars; the latter includes 745,000 incarcerated persons in jail and 1.48 million in prison. Black males are overrepresented at every stage of the criminal justice process (Alexander, 2012; Mauer, 2013; Pettit & Western, 2004; Shaw, 2007). For instance, Black males make up 35.4% of the jail and prison population, even though they constitute less than 13% of the overall U.S. population. Furthermore, among those incarcerated between the ages 18 to 19, Black males are imprisoned at more than 9 times the rate of White males, and between 5 and 7 times more for ages 20 to 24 (Glaze & Parks, 2012). In fact, one in three Black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2011). Thus, additional information is needed about the "warning signs" and profile of Black men who lives are touched by the criminal justice system. Finally, more information is also needed about those who access higher education post-incarceration, as a means for upward social mobility and democratic participation. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY: 97), the purpose of two-phase mixed methods study is to first estimate the relationship between background traits, engagement in anti-social behaviors/illegal activities (e.g., drugs, violence, alcoholism) and two outcomes: age in which Black men first encounter the penal system and educational attainment. In the second phase, I draw on qualitative techniques to elicit information from formerly incarcerated Black men pursuing higher education (or recently graduated) about the knowledge, skills, and competencies they have acquired from education that reduces recidivism.


"The Kids Who Aren't There: Indigenous Youth, Child Removal, and Juvenile Detention"

By Krista Benson, Ph.D. Student in Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies

Although indigenous youth are more than 2.5 times as likely to be held in juvenile custody in the United States as White youth, no scholars have extensively examined the experiences of indigenous youth in the juvenile justice system. Nor have indigenous youth’s experiences of gender expression, sexuality, and family/tribal connectivity been explored in spaces of incarceration and detainment. In my research, I will address these lacunae by asking: What relationship do indigenous boys and girls see between their indigeneity, sexuality, family, and community support before, during, and after experiences with the juvenile justice system? This research will examine the experiences of indigenous youth in juvenile detention in the US state of Washington. Through ethnographic research with young women and men, and their caretakers, in juvenile detention centers, homeless shelters, community-based alternatives to corrections, and at the Spokane Tribe, I will explore the relationship between detention, sexuality, gender expression, and family/tribal connections among indigenous youth.  


"Gender and Justice in Bangladesh: Women's Engagement With the Formal and Informal Legal System"

By Kimberly Young, Ph.D. Student at the John Glenn School of Public Affairs

Violent and non-violent crime affects women in Bangladesh with regularity. However, their ability to seek or expect justice may be mitigated by the stringent gender hierarchy that reinforces women’s legal, economic and social dependence on men. This paper uses World Bank survey data and logistic regression to empirically evaluate women’s engagement with the formal and informal legal system in Bangladesh. Findings show that women are [TBD: less/equally/more] likely than men to take any sort of action after experiencing a dispute, harassment or crime and [TBD: less/equally/more] likely to engage NGO-backed justice venues than with state-sponsored courts and traditional shalish. The most common motivating reasons women victims give for their action or non-action were [TBD after further statistical analysis].

"Immigration Enforcement in the Rust Belt"      

By Emily Shrider, Ph.D. Student in Sociology

Since 1996, and especially since the roll-out of the Secure Communities program in the late 2000s, local law enforcement agencies have been increasingly pulled into immigration enforcement, at the same time that local governments have gained more latitude in determining how immigrants are treated within their borders. This has led to a rash of criminal justice research on immigration legislation and enforcement at the local level, which primarily focuses on whether cities are choosing to pursue restrictive or permissive immigration agendas, and how they are pursuing these aims. Based overwhelmingly on case studies, much of this research focuses on cities that have either a large number of immigrants or that are instituting draconian policies. Left out of the discussion are the cities with small immigrant populations that may have something to gain by taking a permissive stance toward immigration. These cities fall primarily in the Rust Belt, where immigration is frequently mentioned as a revitalization strategy. Despite the growing interest in immigration as a revitalization strategy for the Rust Belt, we do not know what the immigration policy context is in these cities, nor do we know how law enforcement is affected. This research explores the immigration policy context in 16 Rust Belt cities to determine how many cities are pursuing immigration as a revitalization strategy and how many are taking more restrictive approaches. It then explores the role of law enforcement in these approaches, given that as the largest branch of local government, law enforcement is often the first point of bureaucratic incorporation for new immigrants, while simultaneously being tasked with immigration enforcement. Using data drawn from local newspaper articles, state and municipal legal codes, the US Census Bureau, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Interoperability Statistics, this research aims to assess the immigration policy context in 16 Rust Belt cities by addressing two questions. First, what is the political and legal context of immigration in the Rust Belt? Are Rust Belt cities making policies encouraging or discouraging immigration, or are they remaining neutral? What form are the policies taking (i.e., changes to codes, pushes by business groups, backdoor enforcement)? Second, what role does law enforcement play in cities encouraging immigration as a revitalization strategy, given that local law enforcement can play a significant role in immigrant incorporation but is also increasingly being drawn into federal immigration enforcement efforts?  

Working Projects for NSF Grant Proposal

Preliminary Legislative Data from California and Codebook