Criminal Justice Research Project Garners Statewide Support

Institute’s First Major Research Project

The first meeting of the newly formed Racial Disparities in the Arkansas Criminal Justice System Steering Committee was held Monday, June 4 at UALR. More than 30 people from throughout the state with diverse backgrounds and perspectives including those who work, have expertise, or a particular interest in the criminal justice system, met to help guide the Institute’s first major research project.

Institute Director Adjoa A. Aiyetoro and Institute Associate and professor of criminal justice, Dr. David Montague are co-leading the project. The steering committee will assist them in assuring that all factors pertaining to the Arkansas Criminal Justice system are examined and that the community is involved. In addition to collecting information, the Institute, along with the Steering Committee, will develop public education activities and practice, and policy initiatives that the research indicates are needed to minimize, if not eliminate the racial disparities.

Research Design Committee

The Institute developed a research design committee under the direction of Institute Associate Montague. This committee includes UALR professors Dr. Jeffery Walker, chair of the Criminal Justice Department, Dr. James W. Golden, Shaun Thomas, Avenash Thrombe, Tara V. DeJohn, from the UALR School of Social Work; Dina Nash from the UALR Department of Sociology; and University of Albany Research Fellow Matthew Pate. This committee is designing the research and will oversee its implementation.

2012-2013 Racial Attitudes in Pulaski County Survey and Conference

Questions of crime and punishment are often discussed in communities across Pulaski County. The Institute, therefore, decided to couple its first research project on the racial disparities in the Arkansas Criminal Justice System with the 10th Annual Racial Attitudes in Pulaski County Survey. The survey will ask white, black and Latino residents of Pulaski County to share their views on punishments for criminal behavior.

Cindy Bennett, director of the Survey Research Center at the UALR Institute of Government, will once again take the leadership in the design and implementation of the survey. A survey development committee consisting of UALR professors will work with Bennett. Members of this committee include UALR professors Dr. Jeffrey Nash, chair of the Sociology Department, Dr. Sarah Beth Estes, Dr. Adriana Ramirez-Lopez, and Dr. Mary Parker.

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