Our collaborators say...

“IJRD is an exciting new force in making meaningful change in our Florida communities.”

Mark Inch
Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections

"The stress and trauma law enforcement officers experience on a day-to-day basis is not something that is talked about enough. This innovative program [Resiliency Behind the Badge] is a positive step in addressing this issue head-on and ensuring the proper supports are in place for law enforcement officers."

Bobby Schultz
President of the Florida Sheriffs Association

"Innovative research done by IJRD will empower the Commonwealth to implement effective rehabilitation efforts, providing these individuals with the greatest opportunity for success as they reenter society . . . Kentucky has become a national leader in criminal justice reform, and we are grateful for our partnership in advancing this critical pursuit.” 

Matt Bevin
Former Governor of Kentucky

"IJRD's research exploring the trauma incarcerated men had experienced throughout their lives and interventions to treat it helped me better understand myself, my unaddressed symptoms of trauma, how trauma related to my prior incarceration. And even more, it helped me develop a program and curriculum to help others address the invisible barriers of past trauma and make more effective life decisions as they release from incarceration." 

Edward Andrews
Founder and President, Second Chance Re-entry Initiative Program

"I love the fact that IJRD focuses on the human potential of those that have been incarcerated and I applaud their work to transform the criminal justice system."

Mike Evans AMCS, USN Ret. CAS
Manager of Operations, City Rescue Mission

"We at Unlocking Doors® are extremely grateful for our partnership with IJRD. Carrie Pettus and her team are on the cutting edge of data-driven criminal justice reform, something in which we believe wholeheartedly. We were honored to have been one of the initial test sites for the 5-Key Model and are now looking forward to adding the assessment to our own program model. We have no doubt that it will add much value for our clients, ultimately impacting their future success."

Christina Melton Crain, Esq.
Founder and President/CEO, Unlocking Doors®

Our training recipients say...

"I am a law enforcement officer and Resiliency Behind the Badge was very important to maintaining a self-observance of the toll everyday crises you can and ultimately will encounter no matter where you work."

Resiliency Behind the Badge Training Recipient

“I plan on immediately integrating what I learned in the Summer Institute to ensure the highest quality of intervention research protocol. I can’t wait to jump into my next project. Research to practice and engaging community stakeholders is not only important as a part of our work with special populations, but it is our ethical obligation."

Juan A. Rios, DSW

"The Program Evaluation training provided us with a much-needed roadmap to follow as we navigate an assessment of our residential reentry program at Mercy House. It offered focus as we wade through existing records and fill in the gaps with interviews. It has prompted a more assessment-centric mentality in our daily routines, so that we can continue to evaluate and improve our program for the residents."

Olivia H.
Mercy House Program Staff

"Peer-to-Peer Support trainers were amazing and engaging. The information was very helpful and useful. [IJRD] made the information easy to understand."

Peer-to-Peer Support Training Recipient

"This highly interactive Summer Institute workshop provided me with concrete tools to advance my grant writing and funding potential, along with opportunities to connect with colleagues similarly working to improve the experiences and outcomes of people in the criminal justice system.”

Brook Kearley, PhD

"It was important getting to know other researchers with whom I share the same questions and preoccupations regarding advancing a research career and how/when we will be able to conduct intervention research. The Summer Institute training was important to clarify doubts regarding the process required when conducting this kind of research."

Summer Institute Training Recipient

"Awesome tag team with IJRD's two trainers! They provided the therapeutics vs. ground zero approach with actual experiences."

Peer-to-Peer Support Training Recipient

"The most important things I learned from the Summer Institute training were the importance of grounding interventions in theory from the very beginning, the different types of funding that are available for intervention research, depending upon the stage of the research, and the value of building up relationships prior to undertaking an intervention research effort."

Summer Institute Training Recipient

Our study participants say...

“The 5-Key Model program has helped me to find myself as a man. It has taught me the tools I need to make it in everyday life and how to deal and cope with everything that comes with it.”

Darius, Texas
5-Key Model Study Participant

"I appreciate that you treat me like a person and not a number. I've always got someone to reach out to as and someone to listen."

Jillian, Indiana
5-Key Model Study Participant

"With the 5-Key Model, I've been able to be patient and think about it and think about what’s going to be a better outcome for me. I just got to be patient – that's one of the things that I've had a problem with – I would get so angry and immediately go off and end up back in prison. That’s where I don’t want to be. So, by knowing that I have somebody that I can talk to each week who’s gonna listen to me, you know, that gives me something to look forward to."

Tony, Kentucky
5-Key Model Study Participant

"The biggest challenge after I got out was I really didn’t have nothing to do. I was still in the prison mode, so I called my 5-Key counselor and she was like basically trying to get me back on track with  what’s going on outside. She showed me all sorts of different resources, people to go talk to, stuff like that. That was something different from the previous times when I had went to jail because before I ain’t have nobody. You know, somebody to like check on me every week, somebody to talk to."

Dell, South Carolina
5-Key Model Study Participant

"I used to be quiet about a lot of stuff, not talking at all. But as I got more comfortable with my 5-Key Model counselor, I started to talk. I learned that I had to talk to somebody. I had to get an opinion and options from other people. Then, think about those opinions and options and make the best decision. I used to be ‘all or nothing’ and now I know that all-or-nothing thinking isn’t good for me, for police, for anyone. And now I know all this so just every situation there has to be another option, you gotta weigh all the options."

Seth, Florida
5-Key Model Study Participant

"Every time I speak to my 5-Key Model practitioner, it reminds me to stay on the right path. She always makes sure I know that I'm not alone through anything I'm going through." 

James, Ohio
5-Key Model Study Participant

"Well, as many times as I wanted to get high or beat someone up, I always called my 5-Key counselor. You guys were there for me and that’s what mattered because when people use drugs or are in trouble all the time, it’s because they’re lonely. You know, we even feel like drugs and trouble is our only option. When we feel like nobody cares, then it’s like why do I care? 5-Key really helped because any time I felt like I was gonna mess up, I had to say, ‘Hey I need help or I’m gonna mess up.’ But when I did that, you were always there to help me get through it."

Brandi, Indiana
5-Key Model Study Participant

Our students say...

"Seeing the real-world impact of research produced by the IJRD team makes me excited for my future career in research."

Breanna Kim
Graduate Research Assistant

"This work has been so eye-opening and career-affirming for me. My ultimate goal is to become an Occupational Therapist and engaging in criminal justice reform through a rehabilitative and compassion-based lens is at the core of what pushes and motivates me."

Priya Adhikari
IJRD Intern

“IJRD comprises ambitious and inventive individuals who bring their dedication to work every day and inspire me to advance my ingenuity in this field.”

Victoria Connor
Graduate Student Research Assistant

“Working at IJRD has allowed me to see and experience the intersection between social work and criminal justice in a real-world setting. I work with, learn from, and am mentored by so many great people who are also superstar scholars in the field. I feel like I’m not just ‘doing a job,’ I’m learning by conducting research on a variety of topics that I’m interested in.”

Kandace Jernigan
Graduate Research Assistant

"In just a few months, I've learned data documentation, research literacy, and interview skills and grown as a researcher and future social worker."

Rachel Bowns
Research Technician

“My work at IJRD has had a profound impact on me academically, professionally, and personally. The breadth of experiences I have had as a research technician — from conducting and recording interviews for the 5-Key Model research to pulling literature, monitoring data, and designing infographics — is invaluable. It has helped me grasp the research process far more than any class ever could.”

Olivia Hitchcock
Research Technician

"I feel honored to have access to brilliant minds to help guide me throughout my career, as well as a platform to help invoke change in the community."

Megan Vogt
Graduate Research Assistant

"The highlight of my work with IJRD has been learning about people’s lives and using their life experiences to advance research and policy change. I’m grateful for the work I did as a field placement student with juveniles being charged as adults and women incarcerated in a local detention facility. As a student, I had access to social workers with years of macro-practice experience who helped me apply what I learned in the classroom to my career."

Kim Furcron
IJRD Field Student

"Through my work at IJRD, I've become passionate and vocal about prison reform and the justice system, and I'm excited to be a catalyst for lasting and needed change."

Haley Jahn
Research Technician