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Dr. Chris Sullivan

Associate Professor School of Criminal Justice University of Cincinnati

Contact Info

University of Cincinnati
Division of Criminal Justice
P.O. Box 210389
600 Dyer Hall
Cincinnati, OH 45221

Chris Sullivan

My main areas of interest are life-course/developmental criminology, juvenile delinquency, and research methods/statistics.  Although I had a previous curiosity about these topics, I really became interested in them during my time at Rutgers.  For the majority of my time as a student, I worked for Bonnie Veysey on a study that evaluated the Mental Health/Juvenile Justice diversion project being implemented in New York State.  That experience introduced me to the interesting challenge of explaining delinquency committed by multi-problem youth.  In particular, it was fascinating to consider the factors underlying their contact with the juvenile court system and assess the response to those cases.  My interest in life-course/developmental research on crime was launched in Mercer Sullivan’s seminar on the topic during my first year as a Ph.D. student.  I quickly became intrigued with the research that attempted to understand stability and change in individual behavior.  I eventually put these interests together in my dissertation and have continued to study them since leaving Rutgers.

Some of my recent work on these topics has appeared in Prevention Science, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, and Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice.  I try as much as possible to do research that uses methods that appropriately capture the complex processes that are at work in the emergence of juvenile delinquency as an individual, group, and societal problem.  This helps to illuminate what is known about these questions based on existing data while also shining a light on future research needs.

As the volume of research on these topics demonstrates, there will likely continue to be great interest in understanding the development of delinquency and longer term patterns of criminality.  In particular, unpacking the varied influences of social factors and individual agency on processes of stability and change in offending is likely to be a key emphasis in this area.  In the policy arena, it will be interesting to see how scientific knowledge of delinquency and development will affect the legal system, as it did in the US Supreme Court’s decision in Roper v. Simmons in 2005, as well the discussion of the circumstances under which youth should be tried in adult court.