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December 10, 2020

Winter 2020

Dear friends:

Warm greetings from Newark! As the new Dean of the School of Criminal Justice, I have the pleasure to introduce our newsletter. It has been a long time since our last publication and there is much to announce and update. The following pages will fill you in on some of the most recent activities, achievements, and awards of our faculty and students. Here I want to touch briefly on two exciting developments at the school.

This past fall we received approval to offer a dual Master’s Degree with the Rutgers University School of Social Work. Students will complete both degrees in two years; our first cohort of students will begin their studies in fall 2021. Our dual degree will give students the knowledge and skills to participate in the growing opportunities for social workers within criminal justice settings. Graduates will be well prepared to advance our School’s goals of effective and sustainable social justice within criminal legal systems.

We are also introducing a second undergraduate degree, a BA in Justice Studies. This degree complements our BSC in Criminal Justice. The BA has previously been limited to students those in the NJSTEP program, providing educational opportunities for people incarcerated in New Jersey. Starting in the fall of 2021, the BA in Justice Studies will be available to all of our students.

2020 will leave us with many challenges that we will continue to address in the New Year. The commitments of our community—faculty, students, staff, alums, and friends—will guide our efforts through the difficult months ahead, but I am confident that our continued good work and collaborations will lead us to meet our goals and even surpass them.

Stay safe and healthy, and stay in touch.

Dean Bill McCarthy

Digital Punishment:  Privacy, Stigma, and the Harms of Data-Driven Criminal Justice by Sarah Esther Lageson is an analysis of the transformation of criminal records into millions of data points, the commodification of this data into a valuable digital resource, and the impact of this shift on people, society, and public policy.
Prison in the United States often has a revolving door, with droves of formerly incarcerated people ultimately finding themselves behind bars again. In Beyond Recidivism, Andrea Leverentz, Elsa Y. Chen, and Johnna Christian bring together a leading group of interdisciplinary scholars to examine this phenomenon using several approaches to research on recently released prisoners returning to their lives.
In Risk-Based Policing, Leslie W. KennedyJoel M. Caplan and Eric L. Piza discuss how to prevent crime and improve community policing with a focus on places, not people. Through case studies from a variety of cities and towns across the U.S., they demonstrate how to diagnose crime patterns, prioritize places in need, and coordinate resources for prevention. Risk-based policing connects geographic features with crime locations to find the best responses to crime problems. It engages multiple community stakeholders to produce public safety in transparent, sustainable and socially-just ways.
Problem-Oriented Policing: Successful Case Studies is the first systematic and rigorous collection of effective problem-oriented policing projects. It includes more than twenty case studies from among the thousands of projects submitted for the Herman Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing. The volume describes in detail the case studies and explains the wider significance of each for effective, efficient, and equitable policing.  Edited by Michael S. Scott and Ronald V. Clark.
Dr. Valerio Bacak has been working on several impactful projects. The LGBTQ population continues to be targeted by law enforcement, it is disproportionately represented in jails and prisons, and experiences exceptionally high rates of victimizations once behind bars. To understand their unique challenges with reentry, Dr. Bacak led a mixed methods longitudinal study among formerly incarcerated LGBTQ persons in the NYC Metro Area. The project was done in collaboration with two doctoral students from RSCJ: Katherine Bright and Lauren Wilson. A second project examines public defenders and occupational stress: Fairness and due process in the criminal justice system are all but unattainable without effective legal representation of indigent defendants. Yet social science research in the era of mass incarceration has largely neglected the role of public defenders—who are often under-resourced and overworked. With seed funding from RU-N, Valerio led a semi-structured interview study that investigated occupational stress in a sample of 87 public defenders across the United States. The project was done in collaboration with two colleagues from RSCJ: Sarah Lageson and Kathleen Powell.
Dr. Colleen Berryessa recently published an article in the American Journal of Bioethics arguing that compassionate release, as incarceration deprives sick and elderly prisoners their right to safely social distance, represents an ethically-justified human right in the age of COVID-19.  Her research, utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods, examines discretion in the criminal justice system and how it may affect responses to criminal offending, specifically related to courts and sentencing.  She is the author of more than 30 publications and is the current chair of the Research Committee of the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS).
In a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesDr. Frank Edwards along with co-authors Hedwig Lee and Michael Esposito find that African American men and women, American Indian/Alaska Native men and women, and Latino men face higher lifetime risk of being killed by police than do their white peers. Latina women and Asian/Pacific Islander men and women face lower risk of being killed by police than do their white peers. For young men of color, police use of force is among the leading causes of death.

Dr. Edwards is a sociologist broadly interested in social control, the welfare state, race, and applied statistics. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Washington in 2017 and joined the Rutgers-Newark School of Criminal Justice in 2018

Dr. Sarah Lageson recently published op-eds in the Washington Post about the use of police records in employment screening, in the San Francisco Chronicle about the publication of mugshots through Google, and in The Appeal about the distribution of criminal records on Facebook. After the publication of her recent book, Dr. Lageson’s work was featured on Slate, where she discusses the consequences of data-driven criminal record systems. Most recently, Dr. Lageson has published work about the privacy consequences of online court hearings, featured in The Crime Report.
Dr. Jasmine Silver‘s research focuses on the ways that moral intuitions may influence how people approach crime and justice.  Her recent research suggests that many political differences in attitudes about criminal justice including attitudes about police, the criminalization of “immoral” behaviors, and punishment, can be linked to the moralization of individual-oriented concerns such as care and fairness (favored by liberals) and group-oriented concerns such as authority, loyalty, and sanctity (favored by conservatives).  Whereas individual-oriented moral intuitions may elicit greater attention to the needs and rights of individuals who may be harmed by the justice system, group-oriented moral intuitions may elicit preferences for a justice system that uses restrictive and punitive measures to enforce group norms and values…even at the expense of individual wellbeing.  Jasmine’s recent work on morality, crime, and justice appears in a variety of outlets, including Punishment and Society, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Policing, Law and Society Review, and Social Forces.
BLM solidarity protest in Zagreb, Croatia, June 8th, 2020
During a visit to Zagreb, Valerio Baćak helped organize a Black Lives Matter solidarity protest. The protest was led by the African Society of Croatia, and highlighted police violence taking place against Black persons in Croatia, and against refugees and immigrants en route to Western Europe. During that time, Valerio also published an essay in the leading daily newspaper that provided context for the BLM protests taking place throughout the United States.
The First International Chilean Society of Criminology (SoChiCrim) Conference was co-organized by Rutgers SCJ Ph.D. student Felipe Salazar-Tobar. Held Thursdays-Saturdays November 12th through November 28th, all panels of SOCHICRIM were streamed live on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/c/Sochicrim). More than 90 speakers joined from Chile, the United States, UK, Spain, and other Latin American countries. Panels included discussions of Policing, Sociology of Punishment, Juvenile Justice, Gender and Incarceration, Crime Prevention, Criminal Law, and others.
SCJ graduate, Elizabeth (Liz) Webster received the 2019 Dean’s Dissertation Award from the Rutgers-Newark Graduate School for her mixed methods study of how prosecutors respond to wrongful conviction claims. This Award is given annually for the best dissertation at Rutgers-Newark, across departments and schools. This research was funded by the National Institute of Justice through a Graduate Research Fellowship. Liz continues her research and teaching at the Loyola University Chicago Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. Her current research examines court legitimacy through the experiences and perceptions of exonerated defendants.
Ntasha Bhardwaj:  As a researcher, my work is concerned with the impact of gender and gender inequality on crime and fear of crime in South Asia. My research agenda is anchored in the goal to build on the limited yet growing criminal justice research in the South Asian context.  My dissertation project, Exploring Pathways to Incarceration among Indian and Sri Lankan Women, is a mixed methods study, investigating the pre-prison lives and experiences of 180 women incarcerated in India and Sri Lanka. 85 women at three Indian prisons and 95 women at one Sri Lankan prison were interviewed for the study. I recently founded the South Asian Institute of Crime and Justice Studies (SAICJS)with Prof. Jody Miller. SAICJS aims to build context specific research and to bring together academics, activists, practitioners, researchers and students working on Crime and Justice issues in South Asia.
Sadaf Hashimi’s research focuses on understanding the prevalence of crime concentration and deviant behaviors in select networks. For her dissertation, Sadaf draws on social network analysis to investigate the salience of police officer working relationships in facilitating use of force behaviors. By identifying structural and systematic patterns of relationships that are likely to lead to greater instances of police use of force, her dissertation highlights important avenues for intervention policies that may enhance officer safety and accountability, while potentially mitigating future at-risk behaviors. Sadaf is also involved in a longitudinal study that examines how the social and structural organization of police departments contributes to officer performance, retention and turnover, and officer involved violence. This study is, in part, funded by a grant from the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research. Ms. Hashimi will join the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska, Omaha as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2021.
Julia Bowling joined the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice as a Ph.D. student in Fall 2020. She spent several years as a researcher in the field of criminal justice policy at the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. She is the co-author of a report debunking the myth that mass incarceration prevents crime.  Her research interests include prison labor, inequality across the system, and the economics of the carceral state. Currently, she is researching the development of state-owned prison industries.
A native of Brooklyn, NY, Arlana Henry’s research interests center around the intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, and the criminal justice system specifically, as it relates to mass incarceration, gun violence, victimization, and immigration. Arlana previously worked at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Research and Evaluation Center (JohnJayREC) where she conducted research and evaluation studies on projects related to the field of prosecution and gun courts. Most recently she worked as a graduate teaching assistant for Professors Robert Apel and Todd Clear on a project with the New Jersey Sentencing Commission. Currently as a 2nd year doctoral student, Arlana has begun working on research related to gun violence and a research project on the victimization experiences of young men of color with the VERA Institute for Justice. Arlana holds a BS in Crime, Law and Justice from The Pennsylvania State University, and a MA in Sociology with a concentration in Crime, Law, and Deviance from the University of Georgia.
Raven Lewis is a doctoral student in the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University. She has research interests in the areas of prisoner reentry, the collateral consequences of imprisonment, and juvenile justice. Her most recent work, to be published in Race and Justice, examines how school demographics and racialized attitudes about crime influence school disciplinary decisions. In an ongoing project, she focuses on the family support networks of formerly incarcerated men.
Published by Rutgers University-Newark School of Criminal Justice
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