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Five Juvenile Justice Research Projects Awarded Grants

Five research projects were awarded grants to examine the impacts of race and ethnicity, staff-youth relationships, Covid-19 and education barriers in juvenile justice facilities.

To increase the existing body of research on best and evidence-based practices for juvenile justice agencies, five research projects addressing timely and critical issues have been selected to receive grants from the Performance-based Standards Learning Institute (PbS) to use the PbS Database for Researchers. The grants are possible thanks to the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF).

The PbS Database for Researchers was launched in 2021 to provide easy access to more than ten years of PbS’ comprehensive data for academics, researchers and students with support from AECF and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice. Access to the database is free and applications are accepted year-round. This is the first time that incentive grants will be offered.

The recipients are:

Julie Brancale, PhD, Assistant Professor in the College of Criminology & Criminal Justice at Florida State University, and doctoral student Kaylee Noorman. Examining Barriers to Educational Reentry.

Caitlin Cavanagh, PhD, Assistant Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, and doctoral students Jen Paruk and Alyssa LaBerge. Implications of Staff-Youth Relations on Physical Safety and Use of Restraints Among Detained Youth.

Kimbla Newsom, doctoral student in the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. Experiences of Youth in Confinement: Pathways of Racial-Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Corrections

Alyssa Mikytuck, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Randolph-Macon College. Two projects:

  • With undergraduate student Skylar Ackerson, How, If at All, Do Staff Demographic Differences Predict Staff Handling of Behavioral Incidents and Staff Perceptions of Safety?
  • With undergraduate student Janelle De Guzman, Family Visitation, Behavioral Incidents and Staff Safety: What Changed in the COVID-19 Era?

Our grant recipients will complete their projects between this May and August 2023 and their work will be shared widely. We are confident that these projects will increase the understanding of juvenile justice policy and practice, as well as contribute to improvements in young people’s experiences and outcomes.

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About the author



PbS measures and monitors facility practices by collecting and reporting data from administrative records and survey responses from youths, staff and families to provide a holistic picture of the conditions and quality of life in residential facilities, highlights the practices that are effective in promoting youths’ healthy maturation and identifies those that are not. PbS data is reported every April and October.  PbS trains staff to use the information to change practices and support reforms implementing the adolescent development approach.

PbS has been a partner in assisting this facility to become a dynamic work environment that is not satisfied with maintaining the status quo.