In the News
last updated 5-16-2022
IJRD is dedicated to the betterment of the lives of the individuals, families and communities impacted by the criminal justice system. Even before the renewed national consciousness about racial violence in our nation, IJRD has been at the forefront of addressing racial and economic disparities documented throughout the criminal justice system. Learn more about how IJRD promotes racial and economic equity and how IJRD team members are working to generate knowledge, expanding practice, and improve outcomes for justice-involved individuals related to the spread of COVID-19.
Learn about IJRD, the largest academic research institution in the nation working at the intersection of social work and criminal justice, and their dedication to generating data-driven solutions to criminal justice reforms.
FSU College of Social Work Associate Professor Carrie Pettus-Davis addressed congressional leaders as part of a panel on social work and policing. On June 30, 2020, four experts convened to discuss social work's role in the future of policing. Moderated by Charles E. Lewis, Jr., the panel included Derrick Jackson, George T. Patterson, Desmond U. Patton, and Carrie Pettus-Davis.
Researchers at the Institute for Justice Research and Development (IJRD) at the Florida State University College of Social Work find that nearly one-half of study participants experience an impactful traumatic event after their release from incarceration and lose substantial resources that would otherwise support their successful release. This trauma and loss occurs within the first eight months after release from prison.
A striking 47 percent of former inmates experienced at least one traumatic event in the eight months after they were released from prison, according to a study conducted at Florida State University’s Institute for Justice Research and Development (IJRD). Of those who experienced trauma, 18 percent lost a loved one to homicide, 23 percent were assaulted, 31 percent witnessed a serious injury or death, 31 percent were diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or sustained a serious injury, and 60 percent learned of the serious injury or death of a loved one. Incidents like these led one participant to describe the post-release “mental anguish” and another participant to claim that “trauma’s just a way of life” during reentry.
Dr. Tanya Renn, Assistant Director of the Institute for Justice Research and Development, is part of an FSU team that received a $200,000 grant to develop a new evidence-based curriculum related to substance use disorders. The goal of the two-year grant is to develop an evidence-based new curriculum on substance use disorders for Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work programs across Florida.
A national study of accredited social work programs indicated that fewer than 15 percent of graduate programs offer a specialization in substance use disorders and fewer than 5 percent of graduate and undergraduate programs offer a required SUDs course. This trend indicates that social work programs need improved curriculum to meet workforce requirements related to substance use issues.
Imagine, writes Lisa Reyes Mason, if more of us in academe publicly shared our research expertise to help address crucial social issues. What impact could we collectively have? How could lives change? Mason suggests 'breaking it down and getting it out' and highlights the importance of cleaning and analyzing data efficiently, so that early findings -- clearly labeled as such, like work by the Institute for Justice Research and Development -- can be shared much sooner than the painstakingly slow peer-review cycle.
Carrie Pettus-Davis was featured as an outstanding woman researcher for Women's History Month! Her work is changing how technology can be used to improve the lives of people as they leave incarceration and return to their communities.
“We are applying the full power of technology to respond to, arguably, the greatest challenge to implementing data-driven criminal justice reforms — the fact that we just don’t have the human capacity to support and address the complexities of individuals’ lives who are justice-involved,” Pettus-Davis said. “This solution can get us on a path to substantially reduce the size of our criminal justice system, which is desperately needed in our country.”
More than a quarter of the 600,000 Americans who are reincarcerated each year are sent back to prison because they have committed “technical violations” of their terms of probation or parole—not because they have committed new crimes.
The high percentage of such violations, for behaviors like staying out past curfew or missing an appointment with a parole officer, raises uncomfortable questions about the goals and purposes of the country’s system of community supervision, say researchers at Florida State University.
In the sixth of a series of quarterly studies examining “re-arrests” in seven states, researchers at the Institute for Justice Research and Development at FSU’s College of Social Work argued that the nation’s high rates of recidivism bear little relation to the prevalence of criminal behavior among individuals released from prison.
Is a smart phone app the answer to increasing support and improving well-being among individuals under community supervision? A Florida State University criminal justice expert, Carrie Pettus-Davis, intends to find out.
Listen to the radio story here!