Texas Southern University to Establish New Criminal Justice Research Center
Brandon Caldwell | 1/29/2018, 1:04 p.m.
Texas Southern University continues to be a leader in the progression towards criminal justice reform. The historically black college and university recently announced the establishment of the Center for Justice Research or CJR. The center is the latest in an initiative designed to produce innovative solutions to criminal justice reform and address challenges in America’s criminal justice system.
The school was awarded $2.7 million by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and its Center for Advancing Opportunities. The initiative is supported by funding from the Charles Koch Foundation and Koch Industries. According to many, the primary focus of the research center will be to utilize an experienced group of researchers working to understand and address the current challenges of the United States criminal justice system.
“The Center for Justice Research represents a new direction for Texas Southern and will strengthen our commitment to equal justice for all citizens,” TSU President Austin A. Lane said. “TSU is elated to receive strong support for the Center from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Charles Koch Foundation, forming a critical partnership to advance knowledge through our faculty and evidence-based research, and in turn, care for our fragile communities.”
Howard Henderson, Ph.D., professor of Administration of Justice in TSU’s Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, will serve as the Center’s director. John Hardin, Ph.D., director of university relations at the Charles Koch Foundation, said that more Americans are incarcerated than have a college degree. Hardin also said that the Foundation is concerned that the criminal justice system has more impact on the community than the educational system and also has a greater ability to destroy lives.
“Research is required to ensure that the criminal justice system in this country is one that treats all people equally and with dignity so that citizens can live a fulfilling life,” Dr. Hardin said. “We are proud to be a part of a partnership supporting such critical, academic pursuits.”
The mission of the newly minted CJR is to change the identity of how historically Black colleges and universities address criminal justice reform by developing objective, evidence-based research. The goal is to develop and disseminate interdisciplinary criminal justice research to dismantle barriers faced by American citizens in rocky communities. The Center will be an incubator for policy-driven criminal justice research support, increase the research capacity of HBCU faculty in the field, and train and mentor graduate students interested in addressing issues surrounding mass incarceration.
“Incarceration is the end of opportunity for many people, but this grant is setting the stage for a new era in criminal justice,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. We need a common-sense approach to avoid recidivism and address problems with mental illness and addiction in the community.”
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