CJRC Active Funded Research Projects

The following are research studies and other projects that are currently being run out of the CJRC and/or that involve substantial collaboration by core CJRC faculty or researchers. Most are externally funded. 

This project is studying and evaluating the impact of a novel reentry house model based in Carlisle, PA that is largely geared towards assisting with the reentry of inmates being released from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections who are older and who have typically served lengthy terms of incarceration (“old heads”).  These inmates may often be more disconnected from society and in need of greater support with the process of reintegration. The CHRP is funded by Cumberland County and other sources and is based on a model of peer-to-peer support, being staffed by previous reentrants.

Project Team

Principal Investigator: Derek Kreager, Ph.D., Liberal Arts Professor of Sociology and Criminology (dak27@psu.edu).

Investigators: Kristina Brant, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Rural Sociology (PSU); Sarah Brothers, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology and Public Policy (PSU); Brandy Henry, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Education (PSU); David Schaefer, Ph.D, Professor of Sociology (UC Irvine); Gary Zajac, Ph.D., CJRC Managing Director and Research Professor.

About the Project

The Penn State SSRI and CJRC have provided seed funding for this project. External funding is presently being sought from NIH (proposal under review) and other sources.

Research Questions and Project Details

This project is newly in development and research questions continue to evolve. The focus is on how the CHRP assists reentrants with lengthy incarceration histories with the reentry process to achieve independence in the community, including employment, family and social service dynamics. This project also studies the network dynamics of the CHRP residents and staff, including how they develop relationships with one another and how this intersects with their reentry experiences. This project is also studying the implementation of the CHRP, which is a novel and perhaps unprecedented approach to addressing the needs of a specific population of reentrants.

This ongoing project pairs a Post Doctoral Scholar hired by the CJRC and funded by the PADOC to work on projects of mutual interest to the PADOC, the CJRC and the Scholar. 

Project Team

Principal Investigator: Gary Zajac, Ph.D., CJRC Managing Director and Research Professor.

PADOC Project Lead: Bret Bucklen, Ph.D., Director of the Bureau of Planning, Research and Statistics.

Post Doctoral Scholar: Amber Petkus, Ph.D., as of Summer 2023.  Scholars typically serve for two years. 

About the Project

The PADOC makes an annual award of c. $90,000 to support this initiative, which began in 2019 and is ongoing.

Research Questions and Project Details

Topics have included evaluation of prison treatment programs and analysis of parole practices and policy. Specific projects evolve to meet the ongoing needs and interests of the PADOC, CJRC and the Scholar. 

Through Pennsylvania Act 42 of 2017 legalized gambling was greatly expanded. This expansion included interactive gaming, otherwise referred to as online gambling, which provided gambling opportunities across the state, opening up opportunities to gamble where previously there were none. Through this legislation, it was mandated that every year an annual assessment be conducted to assess the impacts of online gambling availability on Pennsylvania residents.

Project Team

  • Principal Investigator: Glenn Sterner, PhD
  • Co-Investigators:
    • Gillian Russell, MSc (Assistant Research Professor, Penn State Abington, CJRC),
    • Seoki Lee, PhD (Professor of Hospitality Management,

About the Project

  • DDAP originally awarded Penn State Abington to conduct the assessment from 2020 until 2023. The project was renewed with funding July 1, 2023- June 30, 2026 ($1,659,786.00).

Research Aims and Project Details

In order to examine the impacts of legalized online gambling in the state of Pennsylvania, each year a telephone survey is conducted to survey adults (18+) residing in Pennsylvania. This survey is designed to determine the population prevalence of online gambling in Pennsylvania each year to follow trends in online gambling, including participation in various online gambling formats. Factors associated with the decision to gamble online are also assessed (including demographics, beliefs, and motivations), in addition to problems with gambling.

This study is collaboration between the Pennsylvania Opioid Misuse and Addiction Abatement Trust, Penn State University, Pitt University, and Temple University to develop a reporting tool that will allow the commonwealth, counties, and subdivisions to report expenditures from the National Opioid Settlement and allow the universities to study county level implementation of these settlement funds.

Project Team

About the Project

  • The PA Opioid Misuse and Addiction Abatement Trust was established by Order of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in July 2022.
  • The Trust receives funds from the settlements entered into by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacy chains.
  • The Trust distributes those settlement funds to the Commonwealth, counties, and subdivisions for use by those entities exclusively to abate the opioid crisis in PA.
  • Distribution of funds is governed by the terms set forth in the Order: 15% to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 70% to counties, and 15% to litigating subdivisions.

Research Questions and Project Details

  • According to the Order, recipients of settlement funds must submit an annual report to the trust by March 15 each year.
  • This report must include actual expenditures of funds and the amount of funds received but not spent by the close of the previous calendar year.
  • In September, the Trust previewed a reporting tool developed by Penn State University, in partnership with Pitt and Temple, and approved moving forward with a test run and training sessions.
  • In October, a group of reporting contacts participated in a test run webinar and received links to complete a test report for their counties. The reporting tool and instructions were adjusted based on feedback received.
  • The reporting tool was sent to all settlement fund recipients in December of 2023 with a draft deadline in February followed by the final report due date in March.
  • Initial analysis of the data will begin in the spring after the March 15th reporting deadline.

The emergence of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) use may be a double-edged sword for public health. On one hand, ENDS may assist tobacco cessation among adult smokers. On the other, they may be a pathway to tobacco initiation and nicotine dependence for new users, particularly adolescents, and ENDS may carry unique risks to lung health. Tobacco control policies proliferated in recent decades (e.g. public smoking bans, increased excise taxes, youth access restrictions, and advertising constraints). Studies indicate such policies contributed greatly to declines in smoking, particularly among youth. Yet, the potential impact of tobacco control policies on ENDS use remains unclear. Further, ENDS-specific policies implemented more recently have not been well studied. Thus, research is needed to examine how tobacco policies and emerging ENDS policies affect trajectories of ENDS use and related tobacco use as adolescents transition into early adulthood, a critical period for prevention. Our research examines policy impacts on ENDS use as well as co-use of tobacco and ENDS. We also assess differences in policy effects according to developmentally-relevant parental contexts (e.g., parental smoking or ENDS use; household bans on use; parent monitoring). Finally, to account for fundamental causes of health disparities, we analyze how policy effects vary by gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic background, and geographic contexts.

To understand how policies affect patterns of adolescent ENDS and related tobacco use over time, we require a geocoded, repeated observations dataset of ENDS and tobacco use, a comprehensive database of tobacco control and ENDS regulations, and a statistical method capable of handling a complex data structure. We will achieve these goals by merging data from three sources: (a) the annually collected Population Assessment of Tobacco & Health (PATH) study of 13,651 adolescents (ages 12 to 17 at Wave 1) followed prospectively; (b) a state-year database constructed from the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF) repository of tobacco-related ordinances and ENDS policies; and (c) U.S. census data. By linking these datasets, we will embed youth within changing policy contexts to understand how policies impact patterns of ENDS use, related tobacco use, and co-use. The repeated observation and contextual aspects of our modeling approaches will produce empirically robust conclusions on the between- and within-adolescent impacts of these policies.

Project Team

Principal Investigator

  • Brian C. Kelly, Ph.D., Department of Sociology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.
    Email: bckelly@purdue.edu

Co-Investigators

  • Mike Vuolo, D, Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.
    Email: vuolo.2@osu.edu
  • Jeremy Staff, D, Department of Sociology and Criminology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. Email: jus25@psu.edu
  • Jennifer L. Maggs, D, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. Email: jlm73@psu.edu
  • Constanza Paulina Silva Gallardo, Ph.D, CJRC Postdoctoral Scholar

About the Project

  • The project builds upon our team’s expertise in policy, substance use, life course, and statistical and mathematical modeling.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse awarded $1,059,608 to support the project over a 3 year period.

Research Aims

  • Assess the impact of tobacco and ENDS policies on longitudinal trajectories of ENDS and related tobacco use (initiation, prevalence, duration, frequency, and cessation) among adolescents.
  • Determine whether tobacco and ENDS policies are more influential for ENDS trajectories of specific subgroups defined by parenting contexts and individual- and contextual-level inequalities.

Implications

Beyond providing the first nationally representative repeated observations study of the effects of tobacco and ENDS policies on within-individual variations in ENDS use among adolescents, this study contributes in additional ways. First, if particular policies reduce ENDS use, wider implementation could decrease long-term dependence and negative health effects as adolescents age into adulthood. Second, identifying policies that prevent transitions to tobacco use by early adulthood could improve population health and lead to decreases in healthcare expenditures. Third, the results will demonstrate which policies have wide impact and whether specific policies benefit certain youth, which is important for minimizing health disparities and improving population health more broadly.

This pilot project evaluates an intervention targeting state prisoners with opioid use disorders (OUD) who will exit prison in Central Pennsylvania to promote recovery and reduce overdose risks in the period immediately upon community reentry.

Project Team

  • Principal Investigator: Derek Kreager, Ph.D., Department of Sociology & Criminology (dkreager@psu.edu)
  • Investigators: Gary Zajac, Ph.D., Managing Director of CJRC, Katherine McLean, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Penn State Greater Allegheny, Jennifer Murphy, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Penn State Berks, Glenn Sterner, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Penn State Abington

About the Project

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs made an award of $110,000 to Penn State to support this project.
  • This project is a collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and RASE Project.

Research Questions and Project Details

  • Core to the intervention is the connection of eligible participants, while they remain incarcerated, to community-based Certified Recovery Specialists (CRSs) who will assist in the transition from prison to community. This individualized, case-management system will operate in parallel, but outside of reporting responsibility, to correctional staff to increase client trust, communication, and treatment compliance. Penn State researchers will recruit and interview participants and their caregivers to understand the efficacy of the intervention, potential mechanisms, and if it can be brought to scale across the Commonwealth.

This project seeks to extend data collection for The Rochester Youth Development Study (RYDS) and its intergenerational extension, the Rochester Intergenerational Study (RIGS). The measurement space of RYDS and RIGS have produced numerous works devoted to the study of risk and protective factors for delinquency and offending, including intergenerational risk and protective factors for childhood and adolescent maladaptive behaviors.

Project Team

  • Principal Investigator: Megan Augustyn (The University of Texas at San Antonio)
  • Co-Principal Investigator: Megan Kurlychek, Ph.D., Department of Sociology and Criminology (mck6@psu.edu)
  • Co-Investigator Kimberly Henry (Colorado State University)

About the Project

  • The U.S. Department of Justice made an award of 1,881,736 to support this project.
  • This work will extend the work of the The Rochester Youth Development Study (RYDS) and its intergenerational extension, the Rochester Intergenerational Study (RIGS).

Research Questions and Project Details

  • This project will help to better understand patterns of offending over the life course. The original focal participants of RYDS are reaching their late 40s, and it is now possible to examine how patterns of risky behavior persist and/or desist in mature adulthood as well as examine the social, economic and health consequences associated with these behaviors. Previous studies largely rely upon cohorts born prior to the 1960s and cannot speak to recent generations who came of age in a different historical time and place (e.g., different penal policies and health pandemics like COVID-19).
  • The project will examine the impact of parental behavior on child outcomes as these youth transition into adulthood and face unique contextual circumstances (e.g., the opioid epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic).
  • New data collection efforts will allow for parameters of bias to be generated for existing intergenerational studies of offending as almost all intergenerational studies suffer from a selection effect – parents (particularly fathers) without contact with their children are typically excluded.

Implications

  • This study will have important implications for understanding the ongoing risk and potential deficits of this cohort as they enter late adulthood to inform future policy.
This project will tell the individual stories of the opiate crisis in the Philadelphia Region, addressing the stigma associated with opioid addiction.

Project Team

Principal Investigator:  Glenn Sterner, Ph.D.
Co-Investigator: Gary Zajac, Ph.D.
Researcher: Elaine Arsenault, M.A.

About the Project

Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties continue to present some of the highest rates of overdose from opiates in Pennsylvania. In 2015, 1,338 individuals lost their lives in the five county Philadelphia Region. Along with this loss in our community, addiction treatment, law enforcement issues, and disruption of family life all accompany those affected by the opioid crisis in the Philadelphia region and beyond.

The story of the opiate crisis in the Philadelphia Region, much like the rest of the country, continues to be told through the use of staggering statistics including the deaths reported above, rates of overdoses, uses of opiate reversal therapy, amount of people seeking treatment, amount of additional resources needed to treat those suffering with addiction, amount of opiates seized from law enforcement, among many others. However, these numbers fail to capture the effect of opiate addiction on individuals, family members, friends, and communities.

Glenn Sterner will coordinate a team of individuals that consists of Penn State University researchers and IBX professionals on a project to tell the individual stories of the opiate crisis in the Philadelphia Region and Philadelphia more broadly, addressing the stigma associated with opioid addiction.  Dr. Sterner, a Post-Doctoral Scholar in the Justice Center for Research at Penn State University, is an expert with regards to the opiate crisis.  He is involved in numerous research projects across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to address this issue, and he is Chair of the Pennsylvania Coalition to address Heroin and Opioid Addiction.  Through this project, the aim is to illuminate and give voice to those affected by the opiate crisis to raise awareness of how pervasive and invasive this crisis is in the Philadelphia region and across the Commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs has signed on as a partner in this project to expand its reach across the state.  Through the collaboration between Penn State University researchers, IBX professionals, and the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, we hope to tell the stories of individuals of the opiate crisis in our Philadelphia communities to reduce the stigma associated with addiction and thereby enable others to talk more broadly about this critical subject to receive the help they desperately need.  This effort is funded by the IBX Foundation, and all products of the project will be made available to the public through an interactive website.  In addition, we will be engaging student interns from the Rehabilitation and Human Services Program at the Penn State Abington Campus to host community events in the summer of 2018 to facilitate community conversations around stigma associated with the opioid crisis.

Project Objectives

Through this phase of the project we aim to:

  1. Interview 3-5 individuals from each of the 5 counties in the Philadelphia Region (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia) who have been affected by opiate addiction.
  2. Produce 10 short videos that will tell an individual’s story.
  3. Produce 30 short print stories that will tell each individual’s story.
  4. PSU team will work with IBX Foundation’s communications staff to prepare and broadly disseminate findings and stories through blog postings and articles.
  5. Produce a website that highlights the stories of opioid addiction.
  6. Host community presentations on the stories and website, and assess the impact of these presentations on audiences.
  7. Increase awareness of the broad spectrum of people affected by opiate addiction in the Philadelphia Region and across Pennsylvania.
  8. Increase awareness of resources available to those affected by opiate addiction in the Philadelphia Region and across Pennsylvania.

Implications

This is an incredibly important project, as it will help to begin to explore the diverse experiences associated with the opioid crisis currently ravaging our communities.  By helping to address the stereotypes associated with opioid addiction and those affected by opioid addiction by illuminating the myriad diverse individuals in our study, we may be able to increase those seeking help for opioid addiction and expedite this process.  Stigma associated with opioid addiction can lead to shame associated with this disease, which delays the initiation into addiction counseling services.  By beginning to help to address this stigma through our research, individuals may be more apt to seek services earlier, leading to quicker positive outcomes.

Through our website and outreach activities, we hope to be able to connect those affected by the opioid crisis on a broader scale.  We also hope to give voice to those stories associated with the opioid crisis.

Additionally, this project will help to examine the effects of the opioid crisis and opioid addiction on individuals, helping us to examine research needed to document the ways that this crisis may be differentially affecting communities and marginalized individuals.  We anticipate that this will uncover narratives that will differ across experiences, leading to further expanded research.

Finally, this project will help to further understand the depth of impact on individuals in our sample by the opioid crisis and opioid addiction.  While quantitative studies document the propensity of this issue, this project is specifically designed to provide greater context of the statistical analyses, and may uncover additional areas for quantitative research opportunities.  This project will help to provide a needed understanding of the life altering experiences associated with the opioid crisis and opioid addiction.

Project Partners

Criminal Justice Research Center, Independence Blue Cross Foundation, Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs

Visit the Project Website Here

This project has two primary goals. First, we will focus on the same 18 “field data” counties that were used in the Center’s recently completed study of disparity in death sentencing to gather more detailed data on the cases that were charged with second and third degree murder, and/or criminal homicide. The Center’s original death penalty study examined case processing only for offenders convicted of first degree murder, due to limited funding. This was noted as a limitation of our original research, as we could not speak to the processing of all homicides. The goal for the new study is to be able to trace how second and third degree cases proceed through the conviction process, either through plea bargaining or trial. We will also link these case-level data with data on the characteristics of counties to look for patterns in the between-county variations we found in our original study. Second, we will focus on selected counties with the heaviest homicide caseloads from our original study and conduct interviews with the District Attorneys, Judges and Public Defenders/private defense attorneys. The goal here is to better understand this case processing more generally and how the decision is made to seek the death penalty. Very little work has been done on this topic, and it begs further exploration.

Project Team

  • Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Ulmer, Ph.D., Department of Sociology & Criminology ()
  • Co-Investigator: Gary Zajac, Ph.D.
  • Project Consultant: John Kramer, Ph.D., Department of Sociology & Criminology- Emeritus

About the Project

  • The National Science Foundation made an award of $300,000 to Penn State to support this project over a two year period.
  • This study will build upon the work previously conducted by Drs. Kramer, Ulmer, and Zajac on death sentencing in Pennsylvania.

Research Questions

  • How are level of homicide charging decisions made?
  • How are second and third degree murder cases processed through the criminal justice system, relative to capital cases?
  • How do charging decisions relate to county characteristics, such as demographics, voting patterns, etc.?
  • How do prosecutors make decisions about whether to file for the death penalty in homicide cases?

Project Details

  • Utilize and expand on the case processing analysis conducted under the previous Death Penalty study.

Implications

  • Results will inform our understanding of the dynamics of murder case processing across all levels of homicide charging.

Prescription pain relievers and heroin (opiates) abuse is a growing epidemic in the United States. Of all drug-related overdose deaths in 2013, 43% were due to prescription opioids and 22% were due to heroin, representing an increase of over 300% since 1999 (NIDA, 2015). In Pennsylvania, opiate overdose rates have increased over 470% over the past two decades, and the state now ranks 7th in the US for drug-related overdoses (Center for Rural Pennsylvania, 2014). Additionally, over half of all arrests in Pennsylvania in 2014 involved heroin (Center for Rural PA, 2014). The cities of Harrisburg and York were recently ranked 25th and 33rd, respectively, amongst the most dangerous cities to live in the US (NeighborhoodScout.com, n.d.). During the last three years, drug-related deaths increased 69.05% in Dauphin County (which houses Harrisburg) and 69.64% in York County (which houses York). Due to the critical and prevalent nature of this issue, we are proposing an innovative project – the TRIAD program – that will disrupt the flow of these illegal substances into our communities through three components: increased patrols, technological advancement, and community partnerships.

Project Team

  • Principal Investigators: Pennsylvania State Police
  • Co-Investigators: Jennifer Gibbs, Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice Program, Penn State Harrisburg; Jonathan Lee, Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice Program, Penn State Harrisburg; Glenn Sterner, Post-Doctoral Scholar, Justice Center for Research, Department of Sociology and Criminology, ges5098@psu.edu

About the Project

  • Proposal to the Bureau of Justice Assistance

Project Details

To combat the rise in drug-related crime and deaths, PSP will utilize Smart Policing Initiative FY2016 Competitive Grant (SPI) funds, under Purpose Area 1: Smart Policing Innovation, to develop “The Triad Program.”  The Triad Program (TRIAD) is a mitigation strategy driven by arrest and overdose data, to be evaluated for effectiveness by the research partners at Penn State University, utilizing measurable performance metrics.

TRIAD will synchronize innovative enforcement strategies, driven by cutting-edge technology, while leveraging information received by community input and outreach, along with police-gathered intelligence.  TRIAD is named for the three main component parts that will be brought to bear on the problem of drug-related crime and deaths: Incident Response Team, Technological Dashboard, and Community Partnership.

The TRIAD program will be assessed through a quasi-experimental design using Harrisburg City and York City as target areas, and two respective comparison areas which will be determined based on demographic characteristics.  Pre-intervention and post-intervention data collection will be implemented through PSP database sharing and resident surveys at both the target and comparison areas.  Crime analysis will deliver hot-spot identification and examine situational factors associated with high odds of criminal incidents.  Surveys will shed light on individual perceptions of drug activities and police enforcement, among others.

Project Objectives

  1. Mitigate overdose rates in York and Harrisburg and their surrounding counties.
  2. Increase disruption of opiate distribution networks through increased surveillance and arrests.

Implications

This project has great potential for sustainability after the SPI funding period.  Once the Technical Dashboard is purchased, PSP will have the resources to continue the TRIAD program.  Additionally, the PSP Commissioner has encouraged police-researcher partnerships to ensure evidence-based practices, and Penn State Harrisburg has a commitment to promoting evidence-based practices in policing.  Further, PSP has networks and influence with other jurisdictions across the Commonwealth, and PSP fully intends to introduce the TRIAD program to other areas if it is effective.  This includes presenting the project at various regional and national conferences (e.g., IACP, Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association).  Finally, the research partners will attend academic conferences and produce academic publications to disseminate results to the academic community, who can promote the TRIAD program to other jurisdictions.

Project Products

  • BJA Grant Proposal submitted April 12, 2016 for $697,473

This is a randomized control trial to study BaSICS, a program designed to teach low-income and racial/ethnic minority youth healthy ways of coping with stress, develop positive personal and cultural identities and engage in efforts to strengthen their communities.

Project Team

  • Principal Investigator: Martha Wadsworth, Ph.D., Department of Psychology (mew27@psu.edu)
  • Co-Investigators: Mark Feinberg, Ph.D. (PSU), Jarl Ahlkvist, Ph.D. (PSU), Gina Brelsford, Ph.D. (Penn State Harrisburg), and Damon Jones, Ph.D. (PSU)

About the Project

  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) awarded Penn State $2,800,000 to support this project for the period May 2016 – April 2018 and May 2018-April 2021 pending successful completion of the first two years’ goals.
  • Testing the efficacy of BaSICS for promoting adaptation among at-risk preadolescents.
  • Seed funding was provided by the Justice Center to support the development of the funding application.

Research Questions

  • Does BaSICS lead to acquisition and use of adaptive individual and collective coping strategies?
  • Do children who complete BaSICS show improved physiologic stress regulation in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) in comparison to children who do not receive the intervention (control)?
  • Do children who complete BaSICS show lower levels of anxiety, PTSD, and depression than control children at post-test and follow-up?  Are improved coping skills and HPA regulation mechanisms of these differences?

Project Details

  • Conduct pre- and post-intervention and follow-up assessments measuring proposed mechanisms that contribute to maladaptation in youth facing adversity, including regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) and acquisition of adaptive ways to cope with chronic, uncontrollable stress (SAM).
  • Implement and evaluate BaSICS using a randomized control trial.

Implications

  • Findings will elucidate how psychosocial interventions can improve preadolescents’ physiologic regulation, how long-lasting such changes are, and the extent to which physiologic change is necessary and/or sufficient to prevent anxiety and depression in at-risk youths.
  • There are important implications of this work for eradication of income- and race-based health disparities.

This project will implement and assess the impact of an evidence-based multicomponent program designed to improve educational and mental health outcomes and reduce delinquent and risk-taking behaviors in early adolescents living in neighborhoods characterized by concentrated poverty and high levels of crime and violence. The RISEUP (Resilience Intervention for Social Empowerment in Underserved Places) program integrates a school-embedded youth coping and empowerment intervention (BaSICS) with a community-driven neighborhood crime and blight reduction initiative (CPTED) to synergistically reduce exposure to risk factors, increase protective factors, and reduce unequal youth health, behavior, and education outcomes.

Project Team

· Principal Investigators: Martha Wadsworth, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Penn State-UPark (mew27@psu.edu); Jonathan Lee, Ph.D., Penn State Harrisburg; Julie Walter, Tri-county Community Action, Harrisburg

· Co-Investigators:, Jarl Ahlkvist, Ph.D. (PSU-UPark), Siyu Liu, Penn State Harrisburg

About the Project

· The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) awarded a subcontract to Penn State in the amount of $234,334 to support this project for the period May 2019 – April 2021.

· Testing the efficacy of the RISEUP program in reducing youth crime and violence in Uptown Harrisburg.

· Faculty release time funding was provided by the Justice Center.

Research Questions

· Does collaborative youth-adult RISEUP reduce crime and improve the public spaces where crime takes place in the Camp Curtin neighborhood?

· Does RISEUP improve youth deviancy and mental health outcomes?

· Does RISEUP increase collective efficacy and community cohesion?

Project Details

· Deliver BaSICS portion of RISEUP intervention to two consecutive cohorts of 6th graders at Camp Curtin Academy.

· Conduct CPTED portion of RISEUP with youth involvement from each cohort of youth as well as community members.

· Conduct baseline-pre-post-follow-up assessments via community surveys, youth surveys, and official police and school records.

· Analyze deviation from expected/predicted trajectories on adult and youth violent and non-violent crime, youth mental health and school problems such as truancy, community engagement, and collective efficacy.

Implications

· Equip middle school youth with effective skills and practices for coping with poverty-related stress (PRS) and trauma, including both individual and collective approaches.

· Reduction in youth and adult violent crimes and youth-police contacts.

· Engage the community in coordinated social action to identify, redesign, and revitalize public spaces where crime takes place.

· Increase collective efficacy and community cohesion via youth-integrated community social action.