I have specialized in juvenile justice throughout my career as a student, and later in graduate school this became focused to issues of violence and victimization among youth, homicide among youth, and variables associated with exposure to community violence among youth. My focus is on high-risk youth living in neighborhoods characterized by high rates of violence with specific emphasis on issues of repairing harm and restoring justice among these youth. I am interested in further developing my expertise in restorative justice and peacemaking criminology, and in particular, the use of peacemaking circles.
Short-Term Goals, 3-5 Years
After completing my PhD I spent several years focusing most of my efforts on teaching and this continues to be the center of my career. Yet, I have always loved the process of research and have continued to develop my interests and skills in this area. Recently, I have began to combine these passions and while using peacemaking circles in my classroom as a teaching tool I have also been engaged in pedagogical research on the different aspects of circles and their effectiveness for building dialogue and creating community within the classroom.
During the next 3-5 years it is my goal to locate and secure funding for a larger research project based on findings from the research project I initiated during doctoral studies. Some goals of the new project would include: a larger sample size, preferably with multiple sites, and utilizing a longitudinal design with a longer follow-up period so as to ascertain long-term effects of participation in the peacemaking circle process. I am confident that this research will offer new insight and support on restorative justice processes as well as providing solutions for reducing the use of violence among high-risk youth. As a researcher it is my goal to not only produce valuable data and contribute to knowledge production and dissemination, but to also offer real-world solutions for the practical problems that many youth face on a daily basis. In short, at the end of the day I really do want my research to make the world a better place.
Currently, I am working on several other smaller research projects with topics that include: homicide among youth, campus crime and feelings of safety, African-Americans perception of drug policy, contemporary issues with descriptive data, and race, gender, and convict criminology. I continue to present research at the major academic conferences in the field including the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology and the Annual meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. I have also been involved with the National Conference on Restorative Justice since its inception in 2007, and plan to continue to be a presence within the organization.
Long-Term Goals, 5-10 Years
Long-term research goals include examining and developing theoretical arguments in the area of restorative justice, helping to build theoretical propositions of peacemaking criminology, and being instrumental in the development of projects that significantly reduce the use of violence and help heal the impact of exposure to community violence.