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Director: Derek Kreager, Ph.D.


Mailing Address: 

The Criminal Justice Research Center
Penn State University
Oswald Tower
University Park, PA 16823

Phone:  814.867.3292


The Criminal Justice Research Center at Penn State promotes and shares research evidence relevant for criminal justice theory and practice. To accomplish this, we seek to establish strong relationships with scholars and practitioners at the local, state, national and even international levels. Our numerous funded projects cut across a variety of criminal justice domains. In particular, we are implementing four new thematic areas to represent the Center’s strengths and interests: (1) Courts and Sentencing, (2) Corrections and Re-Entry, (3) Substance Abuse and Treatment, and (4) Policy and Evaluation. These themes will serve to organize our affiliates and projects, as well as our speaker series and community outreach efforts. Within each area, the Justice Center is making important contributions to the body of evidence regarding “what works” in criminal justice practice and in promoting informed dialogue on criminal justice policy.

In the coming years, we will also focus on connecting practitioners and alumni with young scholars just embarking on their criminal justice careers. Specifically, we will be identifying promising undergraduate and graduate students to assist in center-sponsored projects or receive support for their own research. We will cultivate an environment for student excellence and seek experienced mentors to help these young scholars reach their employment and educational goals.

As always, we are interested in supporting, connecting, and promoting criminal justice researchers across Penn State. Our affiliates are nationally recognized for scholarly excellence and we will continue this tradition into the coming years. Contact us if you’d like to participate in this growing community.

Sample Publications

Alwin, Duane F., Diane H. Felmlee, and Derek A. Kreager, eds. 2018. Social Networks and the Life Course: Integrating the Development of Human Lives and Social Relational Networks. Springer International.

Haynie, Dana L., Corey Whichard, Derek A. Kreager, David R. Schaefer, and Sara Wakefield. 2018. “Social Networks and Health in a Prison Unit.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 59(3):318-334.

Kreager, Derek A., Martin Bouchard, George De Leon, David R. Schaefer, Michaela Soyer, Jacob T.N. Young, and Gary Zajac. 2018. “A Life Course and Networks Approach to Prison Therapeutic Communities.” Pp. 433-451 in Social Networks and the Life Course: Linking Human Lives and Social Relational Structures, edited by D. Alwin, D. Felmlee, and D.A.Kreager. New York: Springer.


Engle, E., Barsom, S., Vandenberg, L., Sterner, G., & Alter, T. (2018). Developing a framework for sustainability meta-competencies. International Journal of Higher Education and Sustainability, 1(4), 285-303.

Harrell, A., Sterner, G., Alter, T.R., & Lonie, J. (2017). Student perceptions of the impact of their diverse study abroad experiences. North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, 61(1).


Kreager, Derek A. and Candace Kruttschnitt. Online First. “Inmate Society in the Era of Mass Incarceration.” Annual Review of Criminology.


Kreager, Derek A., Jacob T.N. Young, Dana L. Haynie, Martin Bouchard, David R. Schaefer, and Gary Zajac. 2017. “Where ‘Old Heads’ Prevail: Inmate Hierarchy in a Men’s Prison Unit.” American Sociological Review, 82(4):685-718.


Schaefer, David R., Martin Bouchard, Jacob T.N. Young, and Derek A. Kreager. 2017. “Friends in Locked Places: An Investigation of Prison Inmate Network Structure.” Social Networks, 51:88-103.


Sterner, G. & Felmlee, Diane. (2017). The Social Networks of Cyberbullying on Twitter. International Journal of Technoethics, 8(2).


Soyer, M., McNeeley, S., Zajac G., and Bucklen, K.B. 2017. “Measuring the Criminal Mind: The Relationship Between Intelligence and CSS-M Results Among a Sample of Pennsylvania Prison Inmates.” Criminal Justice and Behavior, 44(11):1444-1461

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