Gary Zajac

Research Professor

413 Oswald Tower

University Park , PA 16802

Phone: (814) 863-6206

Curriculum Vitae:

Gary Zajac Headshot


Dr. Gary Zajac is the founding Managing Director of the Criminal Justice Research Center and Research Professor at The Pennsylvania State University and a member of the graduate faculty in the College of the Liberal Arts.  He has been Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on 20 Justice Center projects focusing on courts, corrections, sentencing and policing.  His studies at the Center have encompassed racial disparity in capital sentencing, homicide case processing and prosecutor decision making, rural criminology, implementation science, inmate social networks, evaluation of corrections treatment programs, domestic relations programs and specialty courts, including the national evaluation of the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) Demonstration Field Experiment. Dr. Zajac has served for many years as a peer reviewer for the National Institute of Justice and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and for many journals including: Criminology, Criminology & Public Policy, Justice Quarterly, and The Prison Journal (also board member). His scholarly work has appeared in many journals and books, including Justice Quarterly, Journal of Experimental Criminology, Criminology & Public Policy, Crime & Delinquency, Criminal Justice and Behavior, The Prison Journal and the American Sociological Review. He has advised dozens of state, local and international corrections agencies and organizations on the development of research capacity and the implementation of research-based practice.  Prior to joining the CJRC, Dr. Zajac was the research director in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, where he initiated and led numerous studies and evaluations of PADOC programs and related topics. The research partnership model that Dr. Zajac developed there resulted in 18 major grant supported studies totaling over $4 million in external support and won the 2008 Innovations Award from the Council of State Governments, being recognized as a model for knowledge creation and the diffusion of evidence-based practice.