Loyola University Chicago

Center for Criminal Justice

Current Initiatives

In collaboration with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, the National Governor’s Association, and the National Criminal Justice Association, Loyola’s CCJ is conducting research and providing technical assistance to implement and support criminal justice coordinating councils in a number of Illinois counties. There are five counties currently participating in the pilot project: Lake, McHenry, McLean, St. Clair, and Winnebago.


Read County Reports here.


In collaboration with Florida International University and four prosecutors' offices across the country (Cook County, IL; Milwaukee County, WI; Hillsborough County, FL; Duval County, FL), this project is working with prosecutor’s offices to improve data and analytical capacity; develop and implement new performance indicators; ameliorate racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system; and communicate more effectively with the communities they serve. The project received a second round of funding to work with an additional four offices through 2021.

Emerging adults (ages 18-24) constitute a disproportionately large proportion of our criminal justice-involved population at every stage: from arrest to jail, probation, prison and aftercare. Loyola’s CCJ is conducting research to better understand how this population is different from older adults in terms of their justice system processing and outcomes. The CCJ are also working with a number of Illinois jurisdictions through technical assistance and training seminars to identify and determine more effective responses to this population.


Read the CCJ's publications on emerging adults here

The CCJ is working collaboratively with the Illinois Probation and Court Services Association (IPCSA), local probation departments in Illinois, and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, to design and carry out research to examine the characteristics of those on probation in Illinois, the characteristics of probation sentences, the degree to which criminogenic needs are met while on probation, and the post-discharge recidivism patterns of those supervised on probation in Illinois.

In collaboration with Loyola’s Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL), the Region 1 Planning Council in Rockford, and local criminal justice and social services agencies, Loyola’s CCJ has been conducting a process and impact evaluation of the Rockford Focused Deterrence project, designed to identify high-risk individuals in the community, provide them with social services to support their desistence from crime and violence, but to also respond to violations of supervision with swift, certain and fair sanctions.


Read publications on Focused Deterrence here

In partnership with the Salvation Army, Loyola’s School of Social Work and Quinlan School of Business, the CCJ has been conducting a process and impact evaluation of the Pathway Forward Program, and community corrections center in Chicago that serves individuals released from federal prison as they transition back to the community.

Loyola’s CCJ has been conducting research on the factors that influence sentencing in Illinois and across specific counties in the state, and making presentations to various groups in Illinois regarding these research findings. One of the primary goals is to better understand why sentencing practices vary across Illinois’ 102 counties. This project was conducted collaboratively with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) and a final report is being published by ICJIA.

Loyola’s CCJ and the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Adult Probation Department received funding through the U.S. Department of Justice to provide training, support, and action research that will allow the department to safely and effectively address high-risk probationers by focusing on risk, needs, and responsivity. Through this effort, the program will help the department carry out its mission of instilling responsibility, providing opportunity, and creating a safer community.

In partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services, local justice agencies, and Loyola’s CCJ, this project is bringing together state and local stakeholders to conduct a comprehensive assessment of girls’ involvement in the Illinois juvenile justice system for domestic battery or related charges arising out of family conflict and to analyze the current juvenile justice, child welfare and human services responses to these girls. Grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) was obtained to support this effort.

In collaboration with the Illinois Department of Corrections, the CCJ is performing research to examine the post-release recidivism (rearrest) patterns of those exiting prison in Illinois. The goal of this research is to provide a detailed and more sophisticated understanding of the influence that individual and community-characteristics have on the likelihood that those released from prison will be arrested, the nature and timing of the new arrests, and the impact of programs and services on recidivism.

In collaboration with the Cook County Public Defender’s Office, Loyola’s CCJ is assisting with the identification of appropriate performance measures, providing examples of how analyses of data captured through the Office’s information system can be integrated into the management and strategic planning processes, and developing a research agenda and plan to better understand, document, and measure the Office’s work and its impact.

In collaboration with the Cook County Adult Probation Department, Loyola’s CCJ will examine the extent and nature of probation violations and revocations in Cook County, Illinois. The core goal of project is to understand the individual probationer and probation case factors that influence the likelihood of probation violations and revocations and the mechanisms that shape how some cases are “funneled” towards revocation.


Read revocation challenge reports here

In collaboration with Northwestern University School of Law, Measures for Justice, and Cook County criminal justice agencies, Loyola’s CCJ will create a data visualization dashboard for Cook County that provides information on how cases move through the criminal justice system from arrest to sentencing. The project will be the first effort by the county to share data across agencies, to use data visualizations to inform policymaking and to increase the transparency of criminal justice processes for the public.


Loyola’s Center is part of a research hub that includes Texas Christian University’s Institute of Behavioral Research (IBR) and the University of New Mexico’s Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions (CASAA) collaborating on a project to address the current opioid crisis among justice-involved individuals in Illinois, Texas and New Mexico. The project includes facilitated collaboration, training, and cross-system data sharing in an effort to leverage improvements in criminal justice and community behavioral health interagency collaboration. This four-year project is funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Loyola’s CCJ is performing detailed analyses of those arrested for gun crimes in Illinois—including the use of a gun in the commission of a crime as well as the illegal possession of a firearm—and examining how these cases matriculate through the criminal justice system, from arrest to sentencing, and post-sentencing recidivism. In addition to detail analyses of statewide and local data, the project will also include surveys/interviews of local practitioners to understand how they handle these cases, and an examination of Illinois’ gun laws in an historical context as well as in comparison to other states in the region.


Read the Center’s report on gun possession sentencing in Illinois here.

Read the Center’s report on gun arrests in Illinois here

Read the Center’s report on gun arrests in Cook County here

Read the Center’s report on gun arrests in Lake County here

Women constitute a relatively small, yet particularly vulnerable portion of those who pass through the criminal justice system in Illinois. Partnering with the Women’s Justice Institute as well as justice officials and community stakeholders statewide, Loyola’s CCJ is conducting research to identify and understand the factors that lead to fluctuations in Illinois women’s prison populations. Further, Loyola’s CCJ is also working to develop evidence-based suggestions for cutting the women's prison population by 50% .

Learn more about this initiative here

Read about the Center's work with women in the criminal justice system here