Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago

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Media Contact:
Steve Christensen
Director of Communication

Loyola University Chicago Launches
New Interdisciplinary Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice
Center Work to Focus on Implementing Sweeping Improvements to the Criminal Justice System

CHICAGO, February 12, 2016—Loyola University Chicago announced today the launch of the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice, an interdisciplinary approach to promoting a more fair, informed, effective, and ethical criminal justice system. The center, a major initiative of the University’s new five-year strategic plan to promote social justice, is supported in part by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and was developed by Loyola’s School of Law, the College of Arts and Sciences’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, and other University partners.

The University’s strategic plan places a special emphasis on promoting multidisciplinary collaboration to address societal challenges, specifically injustice and violence. This center will focus on research and evaluation, professional leadership and development, and the implementation of specialized projects dedicated to sweeping improvements in the criminal justice system. Drawing on the diverse disciplinary strengths of Loyola to improve the fairness and effectiveness of the justice system through sound research, policy, and analysis, the center will also build on the University’s experience with the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative, which succeeded in fundamentally improving the nation’s juvenile justice system.

“It is exciting to be a part of a new and important initiative that is committed to collaborating with faculty and students, as well as policy makers and practitioners, to explore challenges and develop strategies to improve Illinois’s criminal justice system,” said Diane Geraghty, the School of Law’s A. Kathleen Beazley Chair in ChildLaw, director of the Civitas ChildLaw Center, and co-director of the new center.

The University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology in the College of Arts and Sciences will play an important role in the center’s work. David Olson, PhD, professor and graduate program director in the department, will serve as co-director of the center.

“The issues facing the criminal justice system have reached a level at which we now have unprecedented opportunities to advance evidence-based reforms and engage in more thorough and objective evaluation of policy and practice,” said Dr. Olson. “At Loyola, we have the talent and tools to develop new researched-based insights into the problems of crime, a culture that fosters innovation and leadership, and the expertise and capacity to help policy makers and practitioners find workable solutions to real-world problems.”

Calls to reform the criminal justice system continue to be heard at both the local and national levels. Issues like high rates of incarceration and reoffenders, increased violence in certain communities, and the limited evaluation of existing programs and policies to measure effectiveness are just a few of the topics center researchers will address. The launch of this interdisciplinary center will help facilitate an open dialogue on ways in which we may improve, and more effectively strengthen, our communities. A higher education institution is the perfect place for this dialogue to occur.

“Universities, by nature, are the ideal setting for a debate like this where high-quality research and policy analysis are needed and are critical to moving this initiative forward,” said Patrick Boyle, PhD, Loyola’s interim provost. “Exploring complex issues is a hallmark of a Jesuit university and we are excited for the opportunity to create a real impact on this important social justice issue.”

An immediate focus of the center is raising the bar for criminal justice practice in the state related to the emerging adult population of those who are ages 18 to 24. This group represents a disproportionately large share of arrests and admissions to jails and prisons. As one of its first initiatives, the center will host a national symposium on Friday, February 19, focusing specifically on this group. Titled “Emerging Adults and the Criminal Justice System: Charting the Course for Policy and Practice,” the program will examine the challenges and opportunities young adults present when they become involved in the justice system.

For more information about the symposium, visit LUC.edu/emergingadults. To learn more about the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice, visit LUC.edu/ccj.

About Loyola University Chicago
Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities, with nearly 16,500 students. More than 11,000 undergraduates call Loyola home. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy, as well as course locations in Beijing, China; Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Vernon Hills, Illinois (Cuneo Mansion and Gardens); and a Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Illinois. The University features 11 schools and colleges, including the Quinlan School of Business, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Stritch School of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communication, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, School of Education, School of Law, School of Social Work, Graduate School, and Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago. Ranked a top 100 national university by U.S. News & World Report, Loyola is also among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations like the Carnegie Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service. To learn more about Loyola, visit LUC.edu, “like” us at Facebook.com/LoyolaChicago, or follow us on Twitter via @LoyolaChicago or @LoyolaNewsroom.

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