The Graduate Research Fellowship Program at the Research and Evaluation Center includes two research fellowships in applied justice. Both fellowships are designed to promote graduate student involvement in research and evaluation support for affiliated youth justice agencies in New York City.
Pinkerton Graduate Research Fellows and Lewis Rudin Fellows in Applied Justice Research work in teams to consult with nonprofit community-based organizations in the New York City youth justice sector. Research Fellows receive guidance and training in applied evaluation skills from John Jay faculty and staff and then apply these skills in building the analytic capacities of the affiliated agencies.
Graduate Fellows participate in workshops and meetings with the agency affiliates and assist in the formation of each agency’s evaluation strategy. The purpose of the Fellowship program is not to perform external evaluations of the agencies, but to help them grow the skill set necessary to develop their own evidence base.
Pinkerton Graduate Research Fellowships
The Pinkerton Graduate Research Fellowships are a component of the Pinkerton Fellowship Initiative at John Jay College, a collaboration between The Pinkerton Foundation, the Prisoner Reentry Institute (PRI) and Research and Evaluation (R&E) Center. Pinkerton Fellows contribute to the development of the youth justice community in New York City by supporting the research capacity of participating nonprofit community-based organizations. The Fellowships begin in June and continue through May of the following year.
Lewis Rudin Fellowships in Applied Justice Research
Lewis Rudin Fellowships in Applied Justice Research are made possible by the generous support of Susan and Jack Rudin of New York City, the Lewis and Rachel Rudin Foundation, Inc. and the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc. Graduate students selected as Lewis Rudin Fellows in Applied Justice Research work with the staff of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College, John Jay faculty advisors, and the staff and fellows associated with the Pinkerton Fellowship Initiative to improve the operations and effectiveness of nonprofit community-based agencies in the New York City youth justice system. Lewis Rudin Fellowships begin each June 1 and continue through May of the following year.
The graduate students selected as Pinkerton Fellows and Lewis Rudin Fellows are selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants from campuses throughout the City University of New York (CUNY) System, although most applicants are enrolled as students in the CUNY Graduate Center or programs affiliated with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Youth justice agencies throughout the New York City area apply to be affiliates of the Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Five agencies were selected for 2012-2013, and eight agencies were added for 2013-2014. Current affiliates include:
Abraham House, which provides a holistic, family-based program of services to offenders and their families, and other families who struggle to cope with poverty, violence, crime, and lack of essential services.
Brooklyn Defender Services represents clients in a wide variety of cases, including serious felonies and misdemeanor cases as well as Family Court matters. Attorneys at Brooklyn Defender Services focus on the individual client’s needs, addressing the case from the standpoint of how that case will affect the client’s life.
The Center for Community Alternatives (CCA) is a leader in the field of community-based alternatives to incarceration. Its mission is to promote reintegrative justice and a reduced reliance on incarceration through advocacy, services and public policy development in pursuit of civil and human rights.
Children’s Aid Society, the internationally renowned and historic agency that serves children, youth and their families. The Children’s Aid Society coordinates several programs geared towards adolescents’ emotional, educational and physical well-being.
The DOME Project, which assists young people who are economically, socially, and academically challenged to focus on their education as a means to success. The project helps young people to develop a healthy, positive sense of themselves as individuals who can thrive in society.
exalt supports the success of youth ages 15-19 who’ve been involved in the criminal justice system by inspiring youth at a critical crossroads to believe in their worth, from the first steps in contemplation through the journey to create lasting behavioral change. Through structured classes for tangible skill development, individualized support to navigate the education and justice systems, placement in paid internships, and an alumni network exalt equips youth with the tools and experience to avoid further criminal justice system involvement.
The Fortune Society works to create a world where currently or formerly incarcerated people can become positive, contributing members of society. We do this through community education, advocacy, and a one-stop model of service provision based on over forty years of experience assisting people with criminal records.
Good Shepherd Services, a leading youth development, education and family service agency that serves over 20,000 program participants a year by giving vulnerable youth in New York City the opportunity to take ownership of their future, making a difference today and for the next generation.
Harlem Commonwealth Council’s promotes local economic development and self-sufficiency by investing in the human capital residing in Harlem and by offering programs that give community residents the ability to succeed in their educational and small business pursuits.
Hour Children help incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children to successfully rejoin the community, avoid further justice involvement, reunify families, and build healthy, independent and secure lives.
The Osborne Association offers opportunities for individuals who have been in conflict with the law to transform their lives through innovative, effective, and replicable programs that serve the community by reducing crime and its human and economic costs. We offer opportunities for reform and rehabilitation through public education, advocacy, and alternatives to incarceration that respect the dignity of people and honor their capacity to change.
The Police Athletic League, together with NYPD and the law enforcement community, supports and inspires New York City youth to realize their full individual potential as productive members of society.
Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. engages human service systems so that they rely less on institutional care and invest more in supporting families and neighborhoods. Working with child welfare, juvenile justice, behavioral health, disability and education systems, YAP seeks to capitalize on the strength and resources of families and communities, including identifying and engaging the informal natural helpers that are found in every community to support the highest risk youth and families.
What it Means to be an Affiliated Agency
Lewis Rudin Fellows and Pinkerton Fellows work actively with each affiliated agency to identify the operational or managerial challenges that may limit the agency’s ability to participate in rigorous outcome evaluation projects. The Fellows then work collaboratively with the agency staff to begin building and implementing the analytic resources necessary for evaluation efforts. Typically, this includes creating or refining an agency’s theory of change and a conceptual framework or logic model that can be used to specify a program’s key components and their relationship to desired outcomes at the client, family, and community level.
Next, the Fellows focus on the complex challenges each agency faces in developing accurate but flexible data collection methods to support future evaluation efforts. Depending on the program involved, agencies may work to improve their access to administrative information systems, client surveys, or even interviews when those are necessary to collect the client-specific and often subjective data elements required to test the long-term impact of an intervention.
Finally, the team of Pinkerton Fellows and Rudin Fellows cooperate with agency staff to develop a work plan for implementing whatever research designs each agency chooses to use in evaluating the effectiveness of existing or future intervention programs. Again, the goal of the Fellowship program is not to deliver a finished outcome evaluation. Rather, Fellows help each agency to develop the tools and skills needed to participate in evaluations. As in all human services systems, the most desirable research designs involve randomization and experimental comparison strategies, but Fellows also work with agencies to take advantage of reasonable alternatives to randomization, including the wide variety of quasi-experimental evaluation designs.
During an agency’s first year of affiliation, the Graduate Research Fellows help agency staff to fashion a long-term evaluation agenda (or, work plan) as well as a guidebook containing information and resources that could be used to pursue the agenda. These materials typically include research summaries, measurement guides, and descriptions of agency programs and objectives. By the end of the first year, each agency has an individualized set of recommendations and next steps that staff may choose to pursue in subsequent years.
After the first year of affiliation, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program may continue to work with agencies in a number of different ways. For example, the Graduate Fellows may assist agencies that wish to begin implementing their work plans. They could help affiliates to prepare data collection strategies and to create practical measures for key program activities and outcomes. Fellows could conduct additional research on programming principles that are consistent with the organization’s mission statement and theory of action. Materials produced from this research may be useful as organizations modify program elements to incorporate practices based on stronger evidence. Revised evaluation guidebooks and other documents are distributed as they are produced.
All continuing affiliates may receive such consultation and assistance from Research Fellows after their first year of affiliation, but organizations that are further along in developing their capacity to use and document evidence-based practices may receive less direct assistance. They are welcome, however, to request specific help as needed and to attend Fellowship workshops and symposia. Research Fellows maintain contact with each agency to share additional documents as they area developed and to consult with agency staff as needed.
Affiliated agencies maintain their access to all materials developed through the Graduate Research Fellowship Program, including the documents and tools that will be available on the Fellowship Program’s new website later in 2013.
The Fellowship Team
Pinkerton Graduate Research Fellows and Lewis Rudin Fellows in Applied Justice Research are supported by a team of justice and research professionals from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, including:
Ann Jacobs, the director of John Jay’s Prisoner Reentry Institute and the principal investigator for the Pinkerton Fellowship Initiative
Melissa Pognon, project coordinator for the Pinkerton Fellowship Initiative
Jeffrey Butts, the director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay and the principal investigator for the Rudin Fellowships as well as co-principal investigator with the Pinkerton Fellowship Initiative
Violet Yu, a faculty member at John Jay College, faculty research fellow with the Research and Evaluation Center, and faculty co-coordinator of the R&E Center’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program
Michael Maxfield, a professor at John Jay College, faculty research fellow with the Research and Evaluation Center, faculty coordinator of the R&E Center’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program, editor of the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, and co-author (with Earl Babbie) of Research Methods for Criminal Justice and Criminology, now in its sixth edition
For more information, please contact:
Jeffrey A. Butts, Director of the Research and Evaluation Center
jbutts [at] jjay.cuny.edu