In 2017, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) engaged the assistance of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (JohnJayREC) to support two initiatives focused on the safety and well-being of New York City neighborhoods.
The Evidence Generation initiative focuses on improving the operations and effectiveness of justice agencies in New York City and New York State by generating and analyzing data about the effects of interventions and crime reduction strategies. The program was launched in 2010 with funding from the Pinkerton and Rudin Foundations.
The Research and Evaluation Center and the Department of Criminal Justice at John Jay College collaborated in a project to conduct fidelity reviews with several programs across New York City that provide community-based services to offender populations. The fidelity reviews were designed to confirm the extent to which programs were operating in ways consistent with the Correctional Program Checklist.
The Research and Evaluation Center assessed the implementation of gun violence reduction initiatives in New York City neighborhoods. With funds awarded from the New York City Council, the project tracked the formation and deployment of gun violence reduction strategies in several areas of the City. Each program incorporated the shooting incident crisis management system recommended by the 2012 report from the Council-sponsored Task Force to Combat Gun Violence.
The Research and Evaluation Center partnered with Justice Fellowship (JF) to provide expertise and support that could advance JF’s goal of changing the national narrative on criminal justice. The project resulted in a series of research reports on issues related to current issues and shortcomings associated with criminal justice system practices.
The Research and Evaluation Center investigated the feasibility, implementation, and impact of a youth justice realignment effort in New York State. Known as Close to Home, the initiative diverted young offenders from state facilities and shifted interventions to community-based programs under the direct or indirect management of local government. Over the past two decades, realignment has attracted growing attention in New York and elsewhere due to crowded facilities, strained budgets, and the persistent failure of the justice system to reduce recidivism.
The Research and Evaluation Center worked with Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP) to enhance the research and evaluation focus of YAP. Center staff and consultants collaborated with YAP personnel to design research studies of sufficient rigor to improve the organization’s data-driven orientation and to develop high-quality evidence of its effectiveness.
With funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice extended its program of research and technical assistance on juvenile justice realignment, or efforts to shift programs and resources for young offenders away from centralized, state-run facilities and into locally-operated, community-based, and non-residential programs.
The concept of realignment, however, is much older than 20 years. The Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice reviewed the state of the art in justice realignment. Researchers compiled the literature on realignment and other related initiatives and used the results to report on the best approaches to practice and policy.