UCI Researches Prison
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has given UC Irvine almost $2 million to complete three years of research on the prison system currently being implemented within the state.
Within the Center for Evidence-Based Correction, a center housed on the UCI campus in the Multipurpose Academic and Administrative Building, UCI will research and evaluate both the juvenile and adult incarceration systems and the policies that dictate how these are run. UCI will examine things such as rehabilitation, parole and re-entry programs, and will help officials within the corrections system create polices based on scientific evidence and not the politics of the state.
The director of this new center is Joan Petersilia, professor in criminology, law and society at UCI. She will be working with a host of other professors including Susan Turner, the center’s associate director, Jesse Janetta, the center’s research specialist, and Jean Merret, the center’s administrator. Also working within the center will be many graduate student researchers and possibly undergraduates.
The mission of the center is to identify programs and evidence-based practices that come from scientific sources, research and address criminal justice policy questions and assist the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in implementing these new practices.
The research done at UCI will be the center of a brand-new form of corrections system, which focuses on an evidentiary basis and not a political one.
Turner, a professor in criminology, law and society at UCI, expressed her anticipation for UCI’s research in California’s prison system.
‘I believe that the Department of Corrections will finally be using research in their planning, not politics,’ Turner said. ‘I am looking forward to see what we find out.’
UCI is working with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to create projects for the researchers. Researchers will focus on some political hot topics such as the Global Positioning System for violent sex offenders. They will also be launching a survey on sexual abuse and rape within prison walls, mentally ill juveniles within the prison system and parole options for nonviolent offenders.
One such project, which is currently being discussed, is a study on whether racial segregation within prisons is actually needed or if it is just a political focus. This particular project, though still in the planning stages, has caused uproar among professionals within the prison corrections system. A psychologist who works with prisoners stated that if the segregation laws were changed, ‘there would be blood shed.’
‘If all the races were intermixed, lives would be lost