In the News
The Institute for Justice Research and Development (IJRD) was founded and is directed by Carrie Pettus-Davis, Associate Professor at FSU and CSD Faculty Director of the Smart Decarceration Initiative. Unique from traditional academic research centers, IJRD applies an innovative trans-sector approach, bringing together various disciplines to address complex criminal justice issues. “We partner with prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, departments of correction, probation and parole officers, community service providers, formerly incarcerated individuals and scholars among disciplines from social work and law to public health and computer science,” Pettus-Davis notes. “Criminal justice reform is the civil rights issue of our time and finding solutions means we need to bring everyone to the table.”
The Florida State University College of Social Work celebrated its new research entity, the Institute for Justice Research and Development at the Augustus B. Turnbull III Florida State Conference Center Thursday, April 18. More than 100 people gathered to learn about the newest multidisciplinary research institute to find a home at FSU. The institute’s mission is to advance science, policy and practice to improve the well-being of individuals, families and communities impacted by the criminal justice system.
“We currently have millions of people incarcerated in jails and prisons in the United States,” said Carrie Pettus-Davis, founder and executive director of IJRD. “Right now, we are at a unique moment in history where, as a country, we have the moral will, the fiscal will and the political will to identify data-driven solutions to reduce the number of people who come into the criminal justice system every year and to ensure our communities are healthier and safer because we have better prepared individuals re-entering our communities to be successful.”
Pettus-Davis found that the majority of those returning from prison rely on a case management model, which means mostly getting referrals to various re-entry services throughout their communities. “The problem with that is oftentimes people are referred to waitlists, or they’re referred to low-quality services or they are referred to places they can’t reach because of geographic or transportation barriers,” she says.
She believes that those who receive consistent services and plan their exit from prison while still incarcerated will fare better. “Ultimately, we believe a focus on well-being that happens using a continuum of care starting from the beginning of incarceration and ending afterwards is going to produce better outcomes,” she says.
5-Key Model Project Director, Teisha Sanders, explores the power of second chance hiring and how hiring formerly incarcerated individuals benefits individuals, families, and our communities.
More than 400 Kentucky inmates are participating in a re-entry program focusing on services both during and after incarceration. Carrie Pettus-Davis, a researcher from Florida State University, said re-entry program specialists work with inmates, acting almost like community navigators for these individuals and they do it prior to release and then after the individuals get home. We hope this project provides valuable insight to the state and others. Far too often, those that have been in jail end up back in jail due to not have the proper tools to succeed once released.
Florida State University’s Center for the Study and Promotion of Communities, Families, and Children will tackle the issue of substance abuse in the criminal justice system for the final installment of its inaugural lecture series, “Engage, Invest, Respond.” FSU Social Work faculty member Tanya Renn will present, along with Michele Staton from the University of Kentucky Department of Behavioral Science.
The lecture is free and open to the public: March 29, 3pm, FSU Aero-Propulsion, Mechatronics and Energy Building, 2003 Levy Ave.
Principal researcher Carrie Pettus-Davis says research focusing on healthy thinking patterns, effective coping mechanisms and positive relationships among former prisoners will help Kentucky inmates get out and stay out. Even after this initial bout of research, Kentucky officials say they will continue to reenergize their research in hopes of helping more people. Gov. Bevin said that a declining prison population in Kentucky is evidence of the research’s influence.
Governor Matt Bevin and Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley today held a news conference with leaders from the national Safe Streets & Second Chances (S3C) project to discuss the initiative and other criminal justice-focused efforts in the Bluegrass State. “Our research is about identifying how organizations and communities can best support people in reaching their full potential after an incarceration experience, said Pettus-Davis. “Kentucky leaders have demonstrated that they are committed to research driven solutions by welcoming this study to their state. Our research team is examining individualized approaches to reentry and uncovering what works best, for who, and how. We are thrilled that the research findings can have a direct impact on policies and practices, and ultimately the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.”
More than 400 Kentucky inmates are participating in a re-entry program focusing on services both during and after incarceration. Gov. Matt Bevin was among those recognizing the Safe Streets and Second Chances project. Carrie Pettus-Davis, of Florida State University, said re-entry program specialists work with inmates.“They use assessment tools. They do individual counseling sessions. They do group counseling sessions. They act almost like community navigators for these individuals and they do it prior to release and then after the individuals get home."
This story was also picked up by the Richmond Register.
This morning the governor and a group of experts working on an initiative called ‘Safe Streets and Second Chances’ gave an update from the rotunda on a pilot program that is aimed at successfully integrating inmates back into their communities after being released. Governor Matt Bevin hopes that the new initiative will cut back on recidivism rates with five factors. “One, that they have meaningful work trajectories. Two, that they’re able to have healthy thinking patterns. That they can effectively cope is the third one. That they have positive interpersonal relationships with others and that they are fully participating in their community and have positive engagement,” said Carrie Pettus-Davis, the program’s principal researcher.