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The UMass Lowell School of Criminology and Justice Studies maintains a robust and vibrant interdisciplinary research enterprise. Faculty in the School of Criminology & Justice Studies have been successful in obtaining an additional $6 million in research grants this year. 

Our research is fundamentally applied in its orientation, addressing vital questions related to public policy and criminal justice practice. Current research projects span a broad range of domains, including juvenile justice, policing, terrorism and security, institutional and community-based corrections, and crime prevention. Funders for recent faculty research projects include: the Minerva Research Initiative, the National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the United Kingdom ministry of Defense. 

Community Opioid Outreach Program – CO-OP & Child Assessment & Response Evaluation – Project CARE

Funder: Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA): Smart Policing Initiative: Smart Policing Innovation
Start/End Date: January 2017 – January 2019
Location: City of Lowell, Massachusetts
UMass Lowell Research & Evaluation Team: Wilson R. Palacios, Ph.D., Criminology and Justice Studies; Robin Toof, EdD, Center for Community Research & Engagement; Melissa Morabito, Ph.D., Criminology and Justice Studies; Nicole Champagne, Ed.D., Public Health; Leland Ackerson, Sc.D., Public Health; Melissa Wall, MA, Center for Community Research & Engagement; and Brenda Bond, PhD, Public Administration Suffolk University

Project Summary/Background:
BJAs Smart Suite of programs invest in the development of practitioner-researcher partnerships that use data, evidence and innovation to create strategies and interventions that are effective and economical. As part of BJAs Smart Suite, the FY 2016 Smart Policing Initiative (SPI) will build upon analysis-driven, evidence-based policing by encouraging state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to develop effective, economical, and innovative responses to precipitous or extraordinary increases in crime, or in a type or types of crime within their jurisdictions. This initiative addresses the need for effective policing that requires a tightly focused, collaborative approach that is measurable, based on sound, detailed analysis and includes policies and procedures for accountability. The City of Lowell will use a two-pronged approach to intervene in the lives of opioid overdose victims and to provide early intervention to children impacted by opioid overdoses.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program: City of Lowell & Lowell Police Department - Lowell Opioid Overdose Project

Funder: Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program: Data-Driven Responses to Prescription Drug Abuse
Start/End Dates: January 2017 – January 2019
Location: Lowell, Massachusetts
UMass Lowell Research & Evaluation Team: Wilson R. Palacios, Ph.D., Criminology and Justice Studies; Robin Toof, Ed.D., Center for Community Research & Engagement;  Nicole Champagne, EdD, Public Health; and Melissa Wall, MA, Center for Community Research & Engagement

Project Summary/Background:
Funding will be used to form multi-disciplinary action groups consisting of local, state, and federal criminal justice professionals in addition to state and local health authorities as well treatment providers. Action group members may include (but are not limited to): district attorney’s office, state or local health department, state medical and pharmacy boards, police and sheriff departments, probation and parole, local drug treatment providers, and community organizations. The action groups will collect data from various sources such as medical examiners, emergency rooms, crime data, and other relevant sources that can help to corroborate PDMP data as well as provide additional information to help pinpoint specific locations within the county that are at-risk for prescription drug abuse and drug overdose deaths. Grant activities should focus on data sharing arrangements, data collection, and analysis. Project plan should describe the type of strategies to be developed and the areas (e.g., prevention, treatment, regulatory activity, enforcement) in which the action group plans to have impact to address prescription drug abuse rates in a defined jurisdiction(s). It is anticipated that grantees will determine best practices for sharing data, establishing effective policy and regulatory schemes, supporting investigations, treatment intervention, and prevention efforts for at-risk individuals and communities. Data should be used to identify areas at greatest risk for prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths and create data-driven responses at the local or state level to include education, outreach, treatment, and enforcement. 

Minerva Research Initiative, Office of Naval Research (2/12 grants awarded):

  • “Preventing the Next Generation: Mapping the Pathways of Children’s Involvement in Violent Extremist Organizations.” $941,169, Mia Bloom and John Horgan.
  • “Understanding Muslim Converts in the Context of Security, Society and Resilience.” $1,130,000, John Horgan.
  • “Multi Level Modeling of State Stability,” Office of Naval Research (ONR). $450,000, Mia Bloom with Kathleen Carley, 2013-2018.

National Institute of Justice:

  • “Across the Universe? A Comparative Analysis of Violent Radicalization Across Three Offender Types With Implications for Criminal Justice Training and Education.” $530,298, John Horgan.
  • “Evaluation of a Multi-Faceted, U.S. Community-Based, Muslim-Led CVE Program.” $525,020, John Horgan.
  • “Information Sharing and the Role of Sex Offender Registration and Notification.” $1,000,000, Andrew Harris.
  • “The Prosecution of Child Sexual Abuse: a Partnership to Improve Outcomes.” $498,333, Stephanie Block and Linda Williams.
  • “Decision-Making in Sexual Assault Cases: Multi-site Replication Research on Sexual Violence Case Attrition in the U.S.” $490,000 supplement to original $1,200,000 award. Linda Williams, April Pattavina, Melissa Morabito.
  • “Predictors of Injury and Reporting of Intraracial, Interracial, and Racially-Biased Nonsexual Assaults.” $39,995, Kelly Socia.
  • “Early Intervention Systems: The State of the Art”. Total Grant = $486K  (Christopher Harris is a sub-awardee).

Bureau of Justice Assistance:

  • “Treatment for Adult Offenders with Co-occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders: a Multi-component Program Evaluation.” $600,000, Paul E. Tracy and Essex County Sheriff’s Department.

United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD) via the Center for Defence Enterprise (CDE)

  • “Anticipating Insider Attacks: A quantitative analysis of the role of battlefield casualties as a motivator and predictor of insider attacks in Afghanistan.” $69,000, Neil Shortland and John Horgan.