Rutgers School of Criminal Justice

Centers & Institutes

Crime and punishment, safety and security, deviance, social disorder, and civil rights—these are some of the most significant challenges facing our society. Addressing these complexities requires a multi-disciplinary understanding and a collaborative approach that crosses all social, political and economic boundaries. The faculty at Rutgers School of Criminal Justice is involved with a number of institutes, centers and initiatives, all of which support research, learning and outreach to the greater community.

Rutgers Center for Conservation Criminology

Dr. Ronald Clarke, Director

Founded in 2013, the Rutgers Center for Conservation Criminology was setup to provide a secure footing for work in the field of conservation criminology. In the past, little attention has been paid to wildlife crimes. There has been considerable agreement that current deterrent strategies of trying to intercept and punish the poachers though necessary, cannot be the solution. Given the vast territories involved, the advantage will always be with the poachers who know exactly when and where to strike, and how to evade the thinly-stretched patrolling rangers. At the School of Criminal Justice, we have been pioneering a new approach to preventing these crimes – Environmental Criminology – that charts the whole process from initial capture or killing of the animals through export and sale in destination countries.  The idea is to identify “pinch points” in the process that provide promising opportunities for taking preventive action of whatever kind – using technology to restore the advantage to the rangers, enlisting the help of local people to protect the parks and reserves, strengthening custom controls, or disrupting the markets for wildlife products.

Rutgers Center on Public Security

Dr. Leslie Kennedy, Director
Dr. Joel Caplan, Deputy Director

Founded in 2002 and based at the School of Criminal Justice, the Rutgers Center on Public Security (RCPS) specializes in applying geospatial technologies to scholarly research. It offers a multi-disciplinary approach to the academic study and practical application of ways in which democratic societies can effectively address crime, terrorism and other threats to public security. This involves the prevention of, protection from, and response to natural or human-made events that could endanger the safety or security of people or property in a given area. In an unprecedented way, the RCPS engages all parts of the University and community agencies in exploring the needs and major consequences of heightened security.

The Evidence-Based Institute for Research on Justice Practice and Policy

Dr. Paul Boxer, Director
Dr. Michael Ostermann, Assistant Director

The mission of the Rutgers University Evidence-Based Institute for Research on Justice Practice and Policy (EBI) is to develop and strengthen the evidentiary foundation of juvenile and criminal justice policies and practices. EBI scholars work with policy makers and practitioners across multiple sectors to increase the use, understanding, and interpretation of research evidence for the advancement of more equitable and effective juvenile and criminal justice systems. The EBI maintains a strong foundation of translational, engaged scholarship to ensure that research informs practice and policy just as effectively as practice and policy inform research.

Click here to learn more about the EBI.

Affiliated Institutes


The New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons Consortium (NJ-STEP) is an association of higher education institutions in New Jersey that works in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Corrections and State Parole Board, to (a) provide higher education courses for all students under the custody of the State of New Jersey while they are incarcerated, and (b) assist in the transition to college life upon their release into the community. Our vision is that every person in prison who qualifies for college have the opportunity to take college classes while incarcerated and continue that education upon release.

The Police Institute

Tom O’Reilly, Director
Linda Tartaglia, Assistant Director 

The Police Institute at the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice was formed in 2001. Since that time, the Police Institute has successfully integrated research, problem solving, and criminal justice policy and practice. As part of its mission, the Police Institute works in collaboration with community and law enforcement partners. It serves as a neutral convener of criminal justice and community partners, assist agencies and communities analyze and solve problems, provide technical assistance to criminal justice and community agencies, and provide educational services to criminal justice and community agencies through its various collaborations including but not limited to; Newark Violence Reduction Initiative in partnership with John Jay College and the National Network for Safe Communities, Fugitive Safe Surrender and the Pathways to Productive Citizenship.