Current Projects


National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

Justice Collaboratory staff are working with other members of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice to design intervention programs that aim to improve police-community relations in six pilot cities around the country. The interventions have been developed based on existing research concerning procedural justice, implicit bias, and race and reconciliation.


The Community Study of Procedural Justice and Criminal Justice System Legitimacy

Workers’ Perspectives Study of Procedural Justice & Criminal Justice System Legitimacy

The Collaboratory has developed a cutting-edge study for the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice in New York City that will, for the first time, examine community-level (as opposed to individual) perceptions of procedural justice—not just as applied to policing, but also to the criminal justice system at large—and measure the effects of those perceptions on a range of outcomes. When complete, the study will provide crucial data that will inform how the reciprocal nature of public and criminal justice worker perceptions co-produce ideas of justice within, surrounding, and external to, the criminal justice system. 

The background work upon which this study was designed was possible thanks to MacArthur Foundation support and funding.


Procedural Justice and Juveniles: The School Resource Officer Project

The overarching goal of the Justice Collaboratory’s Procedural Justice and Juveniles project is to understand how youth view the legal system. Our SRO research team has developed a survey instrument that will test whether youth use the same criteria as adults to determine whether the criminal justice system is just and fair. It will investigate whether young people weigh these criteria similarly to their adult counterparts and identify criteria that may be unique to youth perceptions of the legal system. Finally, the study will explore whether perceptions developed from the specific types of contact juveniles are likely to have with the criminal justice system (e.g. via school resource officers) may generalize to the justice system at large, and may influence their behavior in other settings (e.g. with police officers outside of a school).


Criminal Justice Reform Seminar: Theory and Research in Action

The Criminal Justice Reform Seminar brings together students in law and social science to: discuss current issues in criminal justice, learn about cutting edge research and policy initiatives from national experts in the field, and engage in real-world lawyering to advance criminal justice policy reform. The course is designed to be reflective of the aspirations for the Collaboratory: collaborative, multi-disciplinary, grounded in theory and research, and engaged with the critical criminal justice policy debates of the day.


Portals Project: A new window into citizens’ ideas and memories of police authority and criminal justice experiences

The Justice Collaboratory has developed an innovative new research methodology to explore the collective construction of narratives around policing, authority, and ideals of justice. Though initially conceived as a public art initiative developed by Amar Bakshi, Tracey Meares and Vesla Weaver have adapted the Portals format to include conversations around experiences with the criminal justice system in a post-Ferguson era.


The Social Contagion of Police Misconduct

The Social Contagion of Police Misconduct project emerged from a collaboration between Professors Andrew Papachristos (Yale) and Daria Roithmayr (USC), members of “Deconstructing Ferguson” working group co-sponsored by The Justice Collaboratory and the ISPS Center for the Study of Inequality, with objective of applying developments in network science to the study of police misconduct. Led by Papachristos, the Collaboratory team has begun a pilot study examining the structure and composition of social networks among more than 3,000 police officers in the Chicago Police Department. The overarching hypothesis of this project is that the tendency towards specific behaviors (e.g. the use of deadly force or, conversely, behaviors that lead to positive interactions with individuals) may be transmitted between officers in a way that is statistically predictable.


American Police and the Danger Imperative

Michael Sierra-Arévalo's ongoing study of police officers and their perceptions of danger has expanded to three U.S. cities (two on the West Coast and one on the East Coast) and has gathered nearly 1000 hours of field observations and over 100 interviews with police officers. The first paper stemming from this research was presented this August at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting in Seattle, and described how officers in one Eastern and one Western City engage in behaviors that, though justified as necessary to ensure officer safety, in fact place them at great risk of serious physical injury.  Transcriptions of the interviews and further analysis of the data are in forthcoming; a paper based on this project is being prepared for submission to the American Sociological Review and will be presented at the annual meeting of the International Association of the Chiefs of Police.