Criminal Justice Learning Community Series

Webinar series presented by the SCRA Criminal Justice Interest Group

The Parenting Context and Juvenile Offending


Cait Cavanaugh, Michigan State University

Adolescence is a period of increased risk-taking, which, for an estimated 1.5 million adolescents annually, may result in contact with the justice system. Although most youth begin and end their criminal careers during adolescence, the consequences of justice system contact can affect youths’ lives well beyond the adolescent years, and inflict high costs on individual youth, their families, and taxpayers. Several multi-method, multi-site studies will be presented, all of which use a developmental psychological perspective to examine how the family context contributes to the etiology of, and desistance from, juvenile offending. Specifically, discussion will center on two aspects of the role of family in juvenile delinquency. First, a series of studies will demonstrate how parents’ attitudes toward the justice system, knowledge of, and effort in, the legal process, and familial factors are associated with legal decision making and youth re-offending. Second, studies will illustrate how juvenile recidivism reciprocally affects the parenting context.

Systems-Level Interventions: An Examination of Juvenile Justice Reform Efforts in New York


Presenters: Joshua G. Adler, Erin B. Godfrey, Ph.D, Shabnam Javdani, Ph.D

This presentation covers leveraging existing juvenile justice system infrastructure as a means for implementing interventions in juvenile justice settings in New York City and elsewhere in the state. Recent years have seen an increasing interest towards research on the harms of the juvenile justice system. New York, like many states, has made a concerted efforts in reform, such as investing in more community-based organizations as diversion services for youth. The efforts will serve as the backdrop in discussing juvenile justice reforms for this discussion. 

First, the Close to Home initiative and its rationale is examined. Close to Home is a New York State and City collaboration, which brought youth detained upstate to group-home facilities within New York City. These facilities have critical impact on youth well-being, yet little is known about them. As such, it is necessary to identify important settings-level characteristics and policies, as well as to implement interventions to target unmet needs of youth.

This talk also covers the New York State Girls Justice Initiative (GJI), a federal and New York State collaboration, which addresses the criminalization of girls for status offenses, non-violent felonies, and technical violations. The goals of GJI are to understand gaps in available diversion services for girls in Westchester County and to develop a robust array of gender-specific and trauma-informed programming within those services.

These two areas highlight the need for particularized settings-level interventions and research in respect to the diverse bodies of the juvenile justice system in New York.

What Do Defendant’s Really Think?: Procedural Justice and Legitimacy in the Criminal Justice System


Andrew Martinez, Center for Court Innovation

In the last decade, the United States criminal justice system has sought to strengthen the legitimacy of its agencies by embracing the concept of procedural justice (PJ), which refers to the perceived fairness of justice procedures and interpersonal treatment of people going through the criminal justice system. This presentation highlights a recent qualitative study of how those involved with the justice system in Newark, NJ and Cleveland, OH operationalize the procedural justice concepts of respect, neutrality, understanding, voice, and helpfulness based on their encounters with law enforcement and the court system. Implications for policy will be discussed. The presentation will end with a broader discussion about the interface of procedural justice concepts and Community Psychology.

Talk Title: Community-Based Participatory Action Research for Post-Prison Higher Education


Speaker: Christopher R. Beasley, University of Washington Tacoma

Description: The presenter discusses the need for greater attention to post-prison higher education research, the potential for Community-Based Participatory Action Research for addressing this need, best practices for CBPAR, and the Post-Prison Education Research Lab's implementation of CBPAR. 

Navigating the Job Search as a Community Psychologist


Panelists:   Valerie Anderson, School of Criminal Justice, University of Cincinatti; Cait Cavanaugh, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University; Candalyn B. Rade, Psychology, Penn State Harrisburg; and Jessica Shaw, School of Social Work, Boston College
Description: In this Learning Community Series presentation, our panelists share their job search experience. They pay particular attention to how they identified potential job settings that were likely to be a good fit for their substantive foci, as well as supportive of their approach to the work.

Mechanisms of Reentry Support Used by the Formerly Incarcerated and Community Members


Nicole Freund, of Wichita State University and Candalyn B. Rade, of Penn State Harrisburg present their on ongoing research to better understand the critical aspects of reentry, increasing support for formerly incarcerated people, and reentry programming and policies. They report on findings from two projects: 1) exploring the social networks of those reentering communities and how they relate to recidivist behaviors; and 2) investigating the mechanisms of public attitudes and support for reentry. They then discuss overall themes and future directions of this research and encourage active participation from the learning community to discover potential avenues of continued research and practice regarding community reentry. 

Evaluating Family-Based Interventions for Girls in the Justice System: A (Messy) Mixed Methods Endeavor


Valerie R. Anderson & Laura L. Rubino, of the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati present an ongoing mixed methods evaluation of a family-based intervention used in the juvenile justice system with a sample of adjudicated girls. The project was originally designed and written for a criminal justice audience, but they are interested in exploring the possibility of translating it to a community psychology audience with a particular focus on how our community psychology values align with the current work. They present study findings, discuss barriers in conducting the evaluation, and include discussion and feedback from members of the learning community to help shape future plans for this endeavor.

An Evolving Evaluation of Family-focused Re-entry Services for Juveniles


Dr. Carolyn Thompsett and her team talk about the challanges of conducting a large-scale, community-based evaluation of services for youth existing the juvenile justice system.

To Serve & Connect: A Police Widow's Testament to the Power of Community Psychology Values


Kassy Alia speaks about the non-profit organization she founded after her husband, a police officer, was shot and killed in the line of duty in Columbia, S.C. She describes how her training in community psychology and her experience working to address community health disparities transformed her grief response, and how community psychology values will help drive the work moving forward.