Despite the substantial impact that crime and the justice system’s response have on society, criminal justice policies are not usually guided by rigorous and objective research. This results in responses that are ineffective and inefficient at reducing the problems they were designed to address. Part of this is due to the fragmentation of the criminal justice system, in which approaches are often developed in silos with little communication or coordination across criminal justice agencies. Part of this is due to the limited capacity and resources of criminal justice agencies to perform the types of research needed. But part of this is also due to the limited capacity of and opportunity for academic institutions to apply the expertise of faculty and students to address these problems.
There is a growing national consensus that the American criminal justice system has reached a point where reforms are necessary to respond more effectively to the needs of individuals and communities affected by crime and violence. These reforms must be based on principles of social justice, empirical evidence, and more thorough and objective analyses of criminal justice policy and practice. Loyola and similar institutions of higher learning can play a critical role in this effort. They have the talent and tools to develop new researched-based insights into the problems of crime, a culture that fosters innovation and leadership, and the expertise and capacity to help policy-makers, practitioners, and communities find workable solutions to real-world problems.
The Center for Criminal Justice brings a social science and social justice approach to understanding these issues, providing a rigorous, empirical assessment of crime and responses to crime. The Center works closely with government partners to address real-world problems in the criminal justice system, equipped with knowledge about the causes of criminal behavior, formal responses to crime, and the consequences of crime and the criminal justice system on people’s lives – and a dedication to ensuring social justice in the criminal justice system.
We are excited by the opportunity to contribute to Loyola’s long-standing commitment to social justice and hope that you will consider partnering with us in this vital endeavor.
To follow progress on the Center's work, visit the Center project pages at loyolaccj.org.
David Olson, PhD
Don Stemen, PhD