Research
Image of CCJS Crime and Justice Decision Making

Understanding decision-making processes is central to the field of criminology and criminal justice. Research by our faculty addresses a variety of decisions made by offenders, victims, and criminal justice agents (police, courts, corrections, and governments), and their consequences. Our faculty members are engaged in multidisciplinary approaches to studying decision making which cut across multiple contexts and issues in the field.

Image of CCJS Crime Control and Prevention

A central purpose of criminal justice, as well as other public and private policies, is the control and prevention of crime. CCJS faculty and students develop and test strategies to reduce crime, especially by conducting field experiments. These experiments have examined policies as diverse as arrests for domestic violence, free legal counsel at bail hearings, diverting property offenders into drug treatment courts, and sending messages back to cyber-attackers trying to hack into computer accounts. These tests use strong methods to test leading theories of crime and its prevention.

Image of CCJS Juvenile Delinquency

Youths under the age of 18 are responsible for a disproportionate share of crime. Understanding the causes of juvenile delinquency and developing methods to control it are central concerns for Criminologists. CCJS faculty members conduct basic research on the causes of delinquency, including efforts to understand how individual, peer, and school characteristics influence delinquency. They also conduct applied research, working collaboratively with school, community, and criminal justice practitioners, to develop and test promising approaches to delinquency prevention.

Image of CCJS Life-Course Criminology

Life-course criminology focuses on the interplay of criminal behavior and general life-course development, investigating both the causes and consequences of crime. CCJS faculty members have been among the leaders in the establishment of the life-course perspective for investigating the causes of criminal careers, of persistence in and desistance from crime, and of unusually late onset offending. They have studied the consequences of crime for educational attainment, employment, marriage and divorce, child bearing and parenting, and health and mortality.

Image of CCJS Violence

The problem of violence presents unique challenges to researchers and policy-makers; including rationality of violence decision-making, whether traditional crime interventions would reduce violence, whether perpetrator-victim relationships complicate violence-reduction efforts, and how responding to political violence should differ from responses to street violence.   Our faculty’s research in this area uses a wide range of approaches and draws upon expertise from multiple disciplines to better understand violent behavior and the optimal responses to violence.