The Crime and Justice Research Unit (CJRU) of the Social Science Research Center of Mississippi State University was established in 1994 as a joint effort by faculty in the Department of Sociology and Social Sciences Research Center at MSU. Its primary objectives were (1) to promote criminological and criminal justice research by MSU faculty and students and (2) assist the state of Mississippi by providing timely research around criminological topics to assist in policy- and decision-making throughout the state. The unit also aimed to create opportunities for students to engage in collaborative research projects. CJRU associates secured over three million dollars in external funding since 2012 to assist in these research efforts. The unit had a number of associated faculty from sociology, criminology, and psychology who performed research in a wide variety of areas, including the causes of juvenile delinquency, sentencing and victimization issues, fear of crime, gender, homicide and violent crime, corrections, and school safety. We assisted government agencies, community groups, academic institutions, and private sector organizations in the development, implementation, and evaluation of various criminal justice and social issues. In addition, CJRU engaged both undergraduate and graduate students in primary research that allowed them to present their research at regional and national professional/scholarly meetings and publish their research in scholarly journals in a wide variety of disciplines.
MissionThe mission of the unit was to conduct policy-relevant research on issues of crime and justice in communities utilizing rigorous social science methodology and knowledge of best practices. Qualified students were given the opportunity to engage in research that expanded their knowledge of crime and justice.
Recent ProjectsIn an effort to expand the range and quality of research within the field, the CJRU were involved in a variety of research initiatives:
- Angela Robertson and Sheena Gardner worked on the NIDA-funded Juvenile Justice Translational Research on Interventions for Adolescents in the Legal System (JJ-TRIALS), a cooperative research initiative that seeks to improve the delivery of evidence-based substance abuse treatment services to youth within the juvenile justice system.
- David May and Amanda Cook worked with the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program to serve as Research Partners with the Boys and Girls Club of Meridian, MS and planned strategies for neighborhood revitalization in the East End Neighborhood in Meridian, MS.
- Colleen Sinclair, Meagan Stubbs-Richardson and David May were co-principal investigators on a 1.6 million dollar grant from the National Institute of Justice to examine reactions to rejection among high school students in Starkville, Mississippi.
- David May worked as a co-principal investigator with researchers from the Departments of Sociology, Computer Science, and Psychology on a 1.2 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to examine the use of robots as intermediaries to collect information about bullying and child abuse victimization from children.
- Stacy Haynes and David May worked with the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility to examine experiences of female inmates and the effectiveness of gender-specific programming for female inmates.