We pride ourselves on conducting rigorous research that has meaningful impacts.


Reimagining (Measurement of) Community Safety: Methodological Questions in Police Reform

In the context of a national movement to defund police departments, many American cities are starting to reimagine public safety, as activists demand new practices that maintain safety while minimizing harm, as well as ensuring accountability when harms occur.

Beyond Pell Restoration: Addressing Persistent Funding Challenges in Prison Higher Education

Using original data, we outline the limits of Pell funding in the prison context by identifying persistent funding challenges that the Pell grant alone cannot address and may exacerbate.

Racial Equity in Eligibility for a Clean Slate under Automatic Criminal Record Relief Laws

States have begun to pass legislation to provide automatic relief for eligible criminal records, potentially reducing the lifelong collateral consequences of criminal justice involvement.

The Effects of Post-Release Supervision Reform

We test the effects of assignment to a collaborative model of post-release community supervision (PRCS), which emphasizes release planning, prioritizes the officer-client relationship, and invites the client to actively participate in their reentry process.

Transformational Learning and Identity Shift: Evidence from a Campus Behind Bars

Identity-driven theories of desistance provide a useful model for understanding change in a carceral context. However, these theories often are not grounded in specific programmes or practices that might catalyze identity shift, and tend to focus narrowly on recidivism as the sole outcome of interest.

Clarifying the Role of Officer Coping on Turnover in Corrections

Correctional officers are at high risk of exposure to workplace violence, and many report experiencing severe mental health symptoms, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression.

Prisons and Mental Health: Violence, Organizational Support, and the Effects of Correctional Work

Correctional workers have a high likelihood of exposure to violence in the workplace. However, empirical literature has largely neglected the mental health consequences of prison work, as well as the institutional factors that might mitigate or exacerbate these effects.

The Downside of Downsizing: Racial Effects of State Prison Reform

Nationwide, prison populations have declined nearly 5% from their peak, and 16 states have seen double-digit declines. It is unclear, though, how decarceration has affected racial disparities. Using national data, we find substantial variation in state prison populations from 2005–2018, with increases in some states and declines in others.

Pleading for Justice: Bullpen Therapy, Pre-Trial Detention, and Plea Bargains in American Courts

What role do extra-legal factors play in whether defendants plead guilty to a criminal offense? In this study, we provide qualitative evidence that pretrial detention is a contributing factor in adjudication outcomes.

The Pandemic in Prison

The effects of COVID-19 across California have been devastating, but the impact of the virus has been particularly acute in the state’s overcrowded prisons and jails. The epidemic has clear implications for incarcerated individuals and their families, but also for the tens of thousands of Californians employed in the state’s prison system who represent a powerful force in state politics.

Feedback Effects and the Criminal Justice Bureaucracy: Officer Attitudes and the Future of Correctional Reform.

Using original survey data from a large sample of California correctional officers, we find that characteristics of the institutions where correctional officers work—the levels of violence to which they are exposed, the proportion of inmates involved in high-quality rehabilitation programs, as well as the quality of management—help to shape officers’ attitudes toward rehabilitation.

Reports & Policy Briefs

Victim Compensation Board Participation in California: Data-Driven Trends and Observations

Mapping the Ecosystem of Public Safety in the City of Oakland: The Firsthand Framework for Policy Innovation

Pathways Home: An Evaluation of Alameda County Probation Department (ACPD) Innovations in Re-Entry

California POST Management Course: An Evaluation and Review

Participatory Methods for Evaluating New Approaches to Behavioral Health Crisis Response

California State Prisons During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Principles for Prison Higher Education Research

Comparing California Jail Based Voting Bills – ACA4 vs. AB544

Key Considerations for Jail-Based Polling Places

Examining Racial Disparities in California Criminal Record Clearance​​

The Persistence of Racial Disparities Following State Prison Reform

Violence, Management, and Correctional Officer Mental Health

Transformational Learning and Identity Shift: Evidence from a College Behind Bars

Beyond Pell Restoration: Addressing Persistent Funding Challenges in Prison Higher Education

Pathways Home: An Evaluation of Alameda County Probation Department (ACPD) Innovations in Re-Entry

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