Alysson Gatens

Alysson Gatens is a Research Analyst in the Center for Justice Research and Evaluation. Alysson earned her MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Missouri – St. Louis, with a Certificate in Policy and Program Evaluation, and BA in Criminology and Sociology from the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining the Authority, Alysson worked in law enforcement planning and research for the City of St. Louis.

Alysson Gatens is Authority Research Analyst.


An Evaluation of Transitional Housing Programs in Illinois for Victims of Domestic Violence and/or Human Trafficking
October 3, 2019 | Report | Victims
Research suggests violence against women is a leading cause of U.S. homelessness and housing instability for women and their children. Transitional housing programs offer stable housing to women and their children who have been harmed by violence. Researchers conducted a process evaluation of three Illinois transitional housing programs. Overall, the study revealed the programs provided a vital service to victims and staff and client statements reflected positively on the program. The study highlighted areas for program enhancement, including offering more education on tenant rights; expansion and engagement of victims; funding for additional services, such as food assistance, transportation, and childcare; and increased program awareness.
By Alysson Gatens
Alcohol-Impaired Driving in Illinois
July 23, 2019 | Article | Law Enforcement
Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is a persistent but preventable problem that creates a risk of injury or death for all individuals on the road. This article provides an overview of policies to prevent and reduce alcohol-impaired driving, an analysis of related data from Illinois, and a review of existing research on interventions to combat driving under the influence. Researchers found the number of DUI arrests and alcohol-related fatal accidents in Illinois have remained stable or decreased in the past decade. However, further research is needed to fully understand the impact of law enforcement efforts and new technology to address alcohol-impaired driving.
By Alysson Gatens
Demystifying Program Evaluation in Criminal Justice: A Guide for Practitioners
June 4, 2019 | article | evaluation
Evaluation in criminal justice is vital to improving program effectiveness, increasing efficiency, and improving public safety. This article helps demystify the evaluation process and offers practical advice for practitioners endeavoring to evaluate a program. Processes for internal evaluation and external evaluation partnerships are described. Criminal justice practitioners are encouraged to understand the research process and conduct evaluations of their programs and practices.
By Jessica Reichert And Alysson Gatens
Law Enforcement Response to Mental Health Crisis Incidents: A Survey of Illinois Police and Sheriff’s Departments
December 14, 2018 | Article | Mental Health
Law enforcement agencies in Illinois and across the country are seeking ways to increase the safety and efficacy of interactions between officers and individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Researchers conducted a statewide survey to learn more about how police and sheriff’s departments respond to mental health crisis incidents. This article describes responding departments’ policies and procedures to handle mental health crises in their jurisdictions and community resources available to help them address individuals’ mental health needs. Researchers found that mental health crises are a main concern of law enforcement in their communities, with a majority of respondents employing a specialized response to handle such incidents. Recommendations for policy and future research are discussed.
By Alysson Gatens
Co-occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders of Women in Prison: An Evaluation of the WestCare Foundation’s Dual Diagnosis Program in Illinois
October 5, 2018 | Research Report | Prison
This brief shares findings from a process evaluation of a program that treats women prisoners in Illinois with co-occurring disorders—substance use and mental health disorders. Overall, feedback from clients and staff were positive and the program showed reductions in clients’ posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and aggression after participation. In addition, researchers offer suggestions to improve the program’s physical space, as well as enhance program components and data collection.
By Jessica Reichert, Alysson Gatens, Sharyn Adams, Lily Gleicher, Lauren Weisner, And Christine Head
An Examination of Illinois and National Pretrial Practices, Detention, and Reform Efforts
June 7, 2018 | Article | Courts
This article provides an overview of the main issues driving a renewed focus on pretrial detention, the effects of overuse of pretrial detention, and potential areas of reform with a focus on Illinois law and practices when possible. Illinois has made some progress in pretrial reform including the passing of a Bail Reform Act which became effective in 2018. However, more data and research is needed in the area of pretrial practices.
By Jessica Reichert And Alysson Gatens
Illinois Opioid Prescription Data
May 21, 2018 | Article | Criminal Justice Data
By Justin Escamilla And Alysson Gatens
Opioid Prescribing in Illinois: Examining Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Data
May 21, 2018 | Article | Prescription Drug Use
Excessive opioid prescribing increases exposure to those drugs and increases their volume in communities. Over-prescribing has been associated with growing rates of opioid use disorder, overdose, and death. Opioid prescription rates are relatively low in Illinois compared to other states; however, prescription rates varies greatly by county, city, and medical practitioner. This article summarizes Illinois opioid prescription data from the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program.
By Jessica Reichert, Alysson Gatens, And Elizabeth Salisbury Afshar
Responding to Individuals Experiencing Mental Health Crises: Police-Involved Programs
April 2, 2018 | Article | Mental Health
As many as 10 percent of police contacts involve individuals with mental health conditions. A growing number of police and sheriff’s departments have implemented specialized responses to mental health crisis incidents, including crisis intervention teams. Research indicates departments offering specialized responses show greater officer knowledge of mental health conditions and more positive police attitudes toward individuals with mental health conditions. This article examines specialized mental health responses with an emphasis on practices in Illinois and offers implications for future research and practice.
By Alysson Gatens