Justice Research and Policy Center

The mission of the Justice Research and Policy Center (JRAP) is to cultivate, support, and disseminate research that is relevant to the State of Arkansas, provide data driven research to legislatures and policymakers, collaborate with state agencies, conduct program evaluations, and promote evidence-based practices to reduce recidivism and improve public safety.

JRAP is made up of a number of divisions, which all focus on different areas with Criminal Justice. The divisions are a product of different expertise of the faculty in the Criminal Justice department.

  1. Division of Juvenile Justice
  2. Division of Senior Justice
  3. Division of Crime Analysis and Mapping
  4. Division of Environmental Criminology
  5. Division of Violence and Victimization
  6. Division of Corrections

For more information, please contact Dr. Tusty ten Bensel, Director of Justice Research and Policy Center at ixzohra@ualr.edu.

Disproportionate Minority Contact Project

The Justice Research and Policy Center, Division of Juvenile Justice has entered into a seven-year contract worth more than half a million dollars with the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Youth Services to assess disproportionate minority contact within the criminal justice system. All states are required to make an annual report to the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The report includes information on nine points of contact between minority youth and the criminal justice system, including arrests, probation, petitions, transfers, and confinement in a juvenile detention facility.The report generates a relative rate index, the rate that minorities, ages 12 to 17, are disproportionately represented in the juvenile justice system, for each of the 75 counties in Arkansas. The counties with the highest rates are targeted for measures that can reduce the rate of disproportionate minority contact.

The reports will help the Division of Youth Services make policies based on data-driven evidence, Golden said. Changes to the juvenile justice system are not going to happen overnight, Golden said. It’s about showing people the actual data, rather than relying on anecdotal evidence.

Read more about this project