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John Jay’s Criminal Justice Research & Evaluation Center Receives $1 million to Evaluate Crime Control and Prevention Initiatives

October 4, 2010 – John Jay College of Criminal Justice will share with Temple University a grant of $1,000,000 awarded by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to design and implement a comprehensive process and outcome evaluation of the agency’s Community-Based Violence Prevention Demonstration Program (CBVP).  The research, which will available in 2014, will be conducted by John Jay’s Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation Center.

The OJJDP’s $8.6 million demonstration program will replicate practices associated with those innovations in violent-crime control and prevention considered to be among the most effective, such as the Boston Gun Project and Chicago CeaseFire, according to the Center’s executive director, Jeffrey A. Butts. Butts and Caterina Gouvis Roman of Temple University are co-Principal Investigators on the project. Its advisors include Professor David Kennedy, Director of John Jay's Center for Crime Prevention and Control, as well as other faculty from Temple, the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Northwestern University.

“These approaches have evolved into promising strategies for violence reduction with theoretical underpinnings, yet the empirical research assessing the impact of the initiatives is still developing,” said Butts. “Attempts to replicate the models have not always been successful.”

Four communities have been selected to participate in the research: the city and county of Denver Safe City Office; the city of Oakland, CA; the Columbia Heights Shaw Family Support Collaborative; and the Fund for the City of New York/Center for Court Innovation. Each site will devise its own plan for leveraging community partnerships, changing attitudes about violence and communicating to high-risk young people that such behavior will not be tolerated. These multiple initiatives, according to Butts, might include identifying gang members, conducting targeted interventions of high-school students with disruptive behaviors and airing public-service ads.  

“Each of the cities will propose a mix of efforts,” he said. “What we’re evaluating is not individual efforts within the cities, but each city’s total campaign. Every community struggles with the most effective way to reduce youth violence and gang violence,” Butts said, “the DOJ hopes to do that in a way that allows other cities to learn about the most effective methods.

In addition to the evaluation itself, the study will also include a process and transferability analysis, an outcome analysis of the effects of the CBVP on individual youths and an impact analysis, tracking community-wide changes in the four sites and at four comparison sites.

About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.jjay.cuny.edu.