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Justice Center for Research

A message from the Director

Doris MacKenzieWelcome to the Penn State Justice Center for Research. A collaborative effort of the University's College of the Liberal Arts and University Outreach, the Center is designed to bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners--between the University and the world outside. Pursuing a rigorous research agenda that advances criminological theory and addresses substantive policy issues, the Center uses an engaged university model to transfer this knowledge into effective programs and evidence-based practices, to the benefit of local, state, national and international communities. By identifying issues and problems where University expertise could be of assistance; by communicating justice research results and theory; and by informing public debate through presentations, panels and publications--the Center fulfills the Penn State missions of teaching, research and service.

From Managing Director Gary Zajac

Gary ZajacThe Justice Center for Research is advancing an agenda of high quality basic and applied research with a significant impact on criminal justice practice and policy in Pennsylvania, as well as nationally and internationally.

Our numerous funded projects cut across a variety of criminal justice domains, including corrections, courts, sentencing, policing, crime trends and victimology.  These projects take place in the context of partnership with criminal justice agencies, where we work together to answer questions of practical and scholarly interest.  As such, the Justice Center is making important contributions to the body of evidence regarding “what works” in all areas of criminal justice practice and in promoting informed dialogue on criminal justice policy at the local, state and national levels.

I encourage criminal justice agencies and organizations interested in pursuing a research agenda to contact us to explore how we might work together.


From Associate Director Kate Staley

Child victimization is an emerging focus of the Justice Center for Research, building on the Kate Staleymomentum generated by the 2012 Child Sexual Abuse Conference that the Justice Center developed as lead organizer. Bringing together expert researchers, child advocates, survivors, practitioners, law enforcement representatives and many others to listen and learn from each other is one way we work to translate the science of child victimization into real-world impacts. Developing funded projects on a range of child victimization topics, bringing in compelling speakers, and creating future conferences are efforts that are currently underway to expand the Justice Center's mission to bridge the gap between science and practice in this arena.

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