John Jay College to Launch Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice

John Jay College to Launch Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice

John Jay College to Launch Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice

John Jay College to Launch Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice with $3.2-Million Grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation   

April 28, 2016, New York, NY – John Jay College of Criminal Justice today announced the launch of the Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice. Funded by a $3.25-million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), the Research Network – a seven-city consortium – will use the power of data analytics to inform policy conversations and reform regarding the enforcement of low-level offenses. The Research Network, set to launch in July 2016, is a part of the Misdemeanor Justice Project (MJP), a research initiative at John Jay College led by Psychology Professor Preeti Chauhan.

"We are grateful to the Laura and John Arnold Foundation for their support of the Misdemeanor Justice Project and the establishment of the Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice,” said President Jeremy Travis of John Jay College. “With this generous funding, the Research Network will help to create local and national demand for ongoing analyses of law enforcement data.  These analyses will provide the basis for policy discussions on critical issues regarding the appropriate use of police discretion and the role of the criminal justice system in responding to low-level misconduct.”

Preeti Chauhan image“The creation of the Research Network represents a groundbreaking opportunity to compare trends in the enforcement of low-level offenses and pretrial detention across seven major cities.  We hope that this research will provide an empirical foundation for policy reforms designed to improve the effectiveness of the justice system and enhance public confidence,” said Professor Chauhan, the Principal Investigator of Research Network.

The Research Network’s six new partner cities will be announced in the fall of 2016.  The seventh city will be New York City which has been the research site for the original Misdemeanor Justice Project.  The selection criteria for the six cities will include the availability of high-quality administrative data, including at least ten years of reliable data on arrests for low-level offenses, summonses, pedestrian stops and case outcome data including pretrial detention. The Research Network will also provide the nation’s first comparative, multi-site analysis of police enforcement practices, thereby facilitating discussion of different approaches to the exercise of police discretion and options for reform. These analyses, which many policymakers and law enforcement leaders have identified as a necessary resource to inform their decision-making, will in turn support a national examination of the effectiveness of these approaches.

“The enforcement of low-level offenses through stops, summonses, and arrests represents the highest-volume gateway into the criminal justice system,” LJAF Vice President of Criminal Justice Matt Alsdorf explained. “With the stakes so high, we have little reliable data to guide sound policy and practice. The Research Network will build the first national evidence base to transform decision-making concerning these critical police-public interactions.”

The Research Network will work with criminal justice practitioners in each city to obtain accurate data and offer objective analyses.  Funding will be provided to research partners, academic institutions and nonprofit institutes in the selected cities to build infrastructure that will allow them to collect and monitor local criminal justice trends.   The Research Network will also assist partner cities with the dissemination of findings to key stakeholders in the community as well as scholars and policymakers.  

The Research Network for Misdemeanor Justice is based on the successful experience of the Misdemeanor Justice Project (MJP).  With support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, MJP has published a series of reports examining trends in the enforcement of low-level offenses in New York City and State including misdemeanor arrests, criminal summonses, and pedestrian stops. These studies have substantially informed criminal justice reform efforts now underway in New York, including revisions to the summons policies, pedestrian stops and misdemeanor arrests. MJP is now conducting analyses to examine trends in pretrial detention, mobility of those arrested for misdemeanors, changes in issuance of Desk Appearance Tickets, and the role of citizen-generated versus officer-initiated misdemeanor arrests. 

(View open positions with the new Research Network for Executive DirectorStatistical Associate and Postdoctoral Fellow.)

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 15,000 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 and follow @JohnJayCollege on Twitter.