DU researchers offer insights into policing and criminal justice challenges

University of Denver faculty members and researchers are offering ideas and solutions for reforming the nation’s police and criminal justice systems. The following is a small sampling of research from across DU’s schools and colleges.

Rachel Lautenschlager
College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Department of Sociology and Criminology

Lautenschlager studies how racial, ethnic and class inequalities are produced and reproduced in the criminal justice system, particularly when it comes to policing. Her work examines recent developments in the law and how they shape officers’ actions and processes.

Ashley Hamilton
College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Department of Theatre

As executive director of the DU Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI), Hamilton teaches and creates theater in prisons. She researches how productions in prisons can create authentic dialogue, affectual experience, transformation, culture shift and lasting rehabilitation.

Jenipher Jones
Sturm College of Law

Jones, a Civil Rights Fellow at the Sturm College of Law, specializes in law enforcement accountability issues and prison litigation — including solitary confinement, cruel and unusual punishment, and excessive force.

Kim Gorgens
Graduate School of Professional Psychology

Gorgens studies the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in prison populations and the impact these have on the criminal justice system.

Shannon Sliva
Graduate School of Social Work

Using restorative and collaborative approaches, Sliva’s community-based research questions the efficacy and role of courts and prisons in the criminal justice system. Sliva also works as the director of research at DU PAI, where she emphasizes dialogue and shared experiences as transformative forces.

Scott Phillips
College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Department of Sociology and Criminology

An expert in capital punishment, Phillips studies whether the death penalty is constitutional and just. On a September episode of DU’s RadioEd podcast, Phillips revealed the race and gender disparities he discovered when examining to whom the death penalty is administered.

Jeffrey Lin
Sturm College of Law

Lin’s research on crime and punishment focuses on the complex interactions between institutions and individuals in the criminal justice system — especially the way policy and systemic practice affect juvenile offenders, parolees and sex offenders.

Michael Campbell
College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Department of Sociology and Criminology

Campbell studies mass incarceration through the lens of the social, historical and political forces that shape law and policy. Currently, he is researching state-level criminal justice reforms and their impact on correctional populations.

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