Research & Analysis Unit

Dr. Megan Alderden, Associate Director

Welcome to the Research & Analysis Unit of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. The Research & Analysis Unit serves as Illinois’ Statistical Analysis Center (SAC). State SACs provide objective analysis of criminal justice data for informing statewide policy and practice. The Illinois SAC is affiliated with and supported by the Justice Research and Statistics Association, a national nonprofit organization that promotes collaboration and exchange of information among state SACs, and acts as a liaison between state agencies and the U.S. Department of Justice.


Center for Justice Research and Evaluation

Jessica Reichert, Manager

The Center for Justice Research and Evaluation conducts applied research and evaluation projects that examine critical criminal and juvenile justice topics and criminal justice program implementation and outcomes in Illinois. Staff collect data through multiple research methods, conduct advanced statistical analyses, and summarize findings in publications that aim to inform policy and practice. The center also conducts presentations and offers technical assistance to help state and local programs and initiatives use data to inform and improve their work.

Center for Criminal Justice Data and Analytics

Christine Devitt Westley, Manager

The Center for Criminal Justice Data and Analytics continually collects, analyzes, reports on, and disseminates crime and risk factor statistical information for strategic planning, policy decisions and public education. Staff has developed a repository of these data on the ICJIA website, along with various online tools for data display and analysis. In partnership with the State Police, the Center is responsible for the dissemination of state criminal history record information (CHRI) data for research purposes, including in-house analytic use. The Center provides technical assistance in statistical methods, database design, data analysis and presentation.

Center for Sponsored Research & Program Development

Tracy Hahn, Manager

The Center for Sponsored Research & Program Development secures experts in the field to conduct research and evaluate programs that inform policy, support evidence-based practices, and guide decision-making. Staff review and select programs and other priority criminal justice-related topics viable for evaluation and further research. Researchers are selected through a competitive process and are awarded federal grant subcontracts to conduct studies. The center also provides technical assistance to programs supported with Authority-administered grant funds as they refine program objectives, develop data collection tools, and assess program performance.

Center for Victim Studies

Jaclyn Houston-Kolnik, Manager

The Center for Victim Studies designs and conducts research examining the nature and scope of victimization in Illinois and evaluates programs that address victim needs. Center staff use a variety of research methods and analyses to explore victimization and victim services in order to improve policy, programming, and practice throughout the state. The center also coordinates presentations and disseminates reports, translating promising research into implications for policy and practice for stakeholders and victim service providers. Staff also provide technical assistance to help victim service programs collect data to inform how to best meet the multifaceted needs of victims. Finally, staff manage the InfoNet System, a web-based data collection and reporting system used by more than 100 victim service providers in Illinois. The system is one of only a few known central repositories in the country for statewide, standardized victim service data. Click here to learn more about InfoNet.

Sharyn Adams | Full Bio

Research Analyst | (312) 793-8550 |

  • Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana
  • Master of Science, Sociology, DePaul University

Human trafficking, drug task forces, corrections

Megan Alderden , Ph.D. | Full Bio

Associate Director of Research and Analysis | (312) 793-8550 |

  • Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice, Calvin College
  • Master of Science, Criminal Justice, Michigan State University
  • Doctorate of Philosophy, Criminal Justice, University of Illinois Chicago
Sexual victimization, policing

Justin Escamilla | Full Bio

Research Analyst | 312-793-8550 |

Amy Farrell | Full Bio

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Alysson Gatens | Full Bio

Research Analyst | 312-793-8550 |

Lily Gleicher | Full Bio

Research Analyst | 312-793-8550 |

  • Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, University of Connecticut
  • Master of Science, University of Cincinnati
  • Ph.D. Candidate, University of Cincinnati

Implementation and sustainability of evidence-based practices, correctional treatment and rehabilitation, mental and behavioral health, and criminal justice and correctional policy

Tracy Hahn | Full Bio

Manager of the Center for Sponsored Research & Program Development | (312) 793-8550 |

  • Bachelor of Science, Legal Studies, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
  • Master of Public Administration, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Criminal justice research, program evaluation, and performance management

Jennifer Hiselman | Full Bio

Infonet Manager | (312) 793-8550 |

  • Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Master of Science, Criminal Justice, University of Illinois Chicago

Victim services, domestic violence, and sexual assault

Jaclyn Houston-Kolnik | Full Bio

Manager and Victimologist for the Center for Victim Studies | 312-793-8550 |

  • Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, Azusa Pacific University
  • Master or Arts, Community Psychology, DePaul University
  • Doctorate of Philosophy, Community Psychology, DePaul University

Community psychology, violence against women, sexual assault, human trafficking, and intimate partner violence.

Erica Hughes | Full Bio

Research Analyst | (312) 793-8550 |

  • Bachelor of Science, Human Resources and Family Studies, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana
  • Master of Arts, Criminal Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago

Juvenile justice, victims, victim services, and college campus crime

Bobae Kang | Full Bio

Research Analyst |

Kaitlyn Konefal | Full Bio

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Kimberly Lopez | Full Bio

Research Intern |

Ernst Melchior

Computer Support Specialist | (312) 793-8550 |

  • Bachelor of Arts, Mathematics, Vanderbilt University
  • Master of Computer Science, Computer Science, DePaul University
  • Master of Liberal Arts, University of Chicago
Database design, data simulation, and automated statistical analysis

Idetta Phillips | Full Bio

Research Analyst | (312) 793-8550 |

  • Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice, Illinois State University
  • Master of Arts, Guidance and Counseling, Northeastern Illinois University

Adult and juvenile reentry, reentry program operation, community corrections, and data collection

Jessica Reichert | Full Bio

Manager of the Center for Justice Research and Evaluation | (312) 793-8550 |

  • Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice, Bradley University
  • Master of Science, Criminal Justice, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Human trafficking, juvenile justice, and applied research

Amanda L. Vasquez | Full Bio

Research Analyst |

  • Bachelor of Arts, Applied Psychology and Criminal Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Master or Arts, Criminology, Law, and Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago

Violence against women, sexual assault, sex trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation of children, and intimate partner violence

Christine Devitt Westley | Full Bio

Manager of the Center for Criminal Justice Data and Analytics | (312) 793-8550 |

  • Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, Loyola University of Chicago
  • Master of Science, Applied Social Psychology, Loyola University of Chicago

Criminal history record information, homicide, and information systems integration

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Procedural Justice in Policing: How the Process of Justice Impacts Public Attitudes and Law Enforcement Outcomes
November 7, 2017 | Article | Law Enforcement
An increasing number of widely publicized and divisive incidents between police and citizens suggest a need for police policies and practices to improve procedural justice. Procedural justice emphasizes the need for police to demonstrate their legitimacy to the public in four areas—voice, transparency, fairness, and impartiality. This article explains procedural justice and police legitimacy, examines the often racial divide between citizens and police, and offers implications for police policy and practice.
By Emma Peterson, Jessica Reichert, And Kaitlyn Konefal
Victim Need Report: Service Providers’ Perspectives on the Needs of Crime Victims and Service Gaps
November 3, 2017 | Article, Research Report | Victimization
Researchers conducted a statewide study to better understand crime victim needs, identify service gaps, and measure the capacity of Illinois victim service providers. Victim service providers from across Illinois identified the needs of violent crime victims. Providers also highlighted service gaps, or ways in which current service availability was unable to satisfy victim need. Study findings have policy and practice implications for funders, victim service providers, and other service agencies that interact with victims in Illinois.
By Amanda L. Vasquez And Jaclyn Houston-Kolnik
Implementation Science in Criminal Justice: How Implementation of Evidence-based Programs and Practices Affects Outcomes
October 20, 2017 | Article | Evidence-Informed Practices
With increased attention on the criminal justice system’s use of evidence-based practices, focus is needed on the quality of practice implementation and its impact on outcomes. This article defines evidence-based practices, discusses the importance of effective implementation, and outlines the drivers for organizational and operational change.
By Lily Gleicher
Police-Led Referrals to Treatment for Substance Use Disorders in Rural Illinois: An Examination of the Safe Passage Initiative
October 3, 2017 | Article | Law Enforcement
Researchers conducted a process evaluation of Safe Passage, a police deflection model in which police departments become a referral point to treatment for individuals with substance use disorders. Through the model, individuals can walk into any participating police department and request and receive treatment without fear of arrest. In Illinois, Safe Passage has served 170 individuals in rural Lee and Whiteside counties since 2015. Researchers sought to understand how the initiative was developed and operated and gain perspectives of stakeholders, police officers, treatment providers, and clients involved in the program. While more research is needed, the initiative showed promise in its collaborative approach to connecting clients to treatment.
By Jessica Reichert, Lily Gleicher, Lynne Mock, Sharyn Adams, And Kimberly Lopez
Performance Incentive Funding For Prison Diversion: An Implementation Evaluation of the Winnebago County Adult Redeploy Illinois Program
September 27, 2017 | Article | Criminal Justice, Probation, Prison Diversion, Drug Court, Evaluation
ICJIA researchers conducted an implementation evaluation of the Adult Redeploy Illinois-supported Winnebago County Drug Court. Probation administrative data, criminal history data, interviews with program stakeholders and participants informed the evaluation and researchers developed implications for policy and practice for this and any other county or municipality interested in implementing a drug court.
By Lynne Mock, Risa Sacomani, And Sara Gonzalez
Fighting the Opioid Crisis through Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Study of a Police Program Model in Illinois
September 7, 2017 | Article | Law enforcement
Seeking to more effectively help individuals suffering from opioid use disorder, police departments across the country are embracing a deflection model that offers treatment access to those in need. Researchers interviewed representatives of seven law enforcement agencies employing treatment program models in Illinois to better understand operations, leverage lessons learned, measure sustainability, and inform other agencies as they implement their own programs.
By Jessica Reichert
An Examination of Fear of Crime and Social Vulnerability in Chicago Neighborhoods
August 16, 2017 | Article | Community violence
Although there have been documented declines in U.S. crime rates in past decades, recent news headlines in Chicago often highlight incidents of, and concerns about, violence, particularly gun violence. Prior research has noted fear of crime in urban neighborhoods is associated with physical deterioration, as well as social disorganization and vulnerability. ICJIA researchers surveyed more than 1,000 Chicago residents in 16 neighborhoods on fear of crime and compared their responses to a measure of neighborhood social vulnerability. This study found an association between social vulnerability and fear of crime. In addition, half of the residents had greater fear than expected based on neighborhood social vulnerability and half had less fear of crime than expected. Future research can serve to understand the impact of, and ways to reduce, unwarranted fear that can have a negative impact on individuals.
By Jessica Reichert And Kaitlyn Konefal
A Comprehensive Model for Underserved Victims of Violent Crime: Trauma Recovery Centers
August 4, 2017 | Article | Victimization
Violent crime victimization can impact multiple areas of victims’ lives. Victims who are underserved or marginalized face unique individual, societal, and cultural hurdles that impact help-seeking. Models of service delivery that provide a single point of contact and comprehensive, evidence-based services hold promise to serve victims whose needs extend beyond traditional services. Comprehensive trauma recovery center (TRC) models have been shown to lead to positive survivor outcomes. TRC model expansion should be explored to assess how they might complement existing services and reach underserved individuals and groups.
By Jaclyn Houston-Kolnik
An Examination of Traumatic Experiences and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among a Sample of Illinois Prisoners
July 25, 2017 | Article | Corrections
Research has found nearly all prisoners have experienced a traumatic event in their life and a high proportion suffer from PTSD. Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and WestCare Foundation (Illinois) researchers surveyed 573 Illinois prisoners to understand the trauma they experienced and explore the relationship between trauma and substance misuse. Researchers found 89 percent of those surveyed had both experienced and witnessed more than one traumatic event during their lifetime. Almost one-fourth of the sample were identified as being symptomatic for PTSD (24 percent). In addition, researchers found a relationship found between greater PTSD symptoms and higher drug use. This article describes survey findings and provides implications for policy and practice in correctional facilities.
By Sharyn Adams, Lily Gleicher, Jessica Reichert, Kaitlyn Konefal, And Dustin Cantrell
Trauma-Informed and Evidence-Based Practices and Programs to Address Trauma in Correctional Settings
July 25, 2017 | Article | Corrections
The prevalence of trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is higher among individuals in prison and jail than in the general population. Research has shown a connection between trauma and criminality due in part to the coping mechanisms of aggression and substance misuse after a traumatic event. While the corrections environment itself may cause or exacerbate PTSD symptoms in some individuals, facilities can implement trauma-informed practices to minimize re-traumatization and reduce PTSD symptoms. This article documents the prevalence of trauma and PTSD within this population, and discusses how correctional facilities can implement trauma-informed practices and evidence-based approaches to assist individuals with trauma histories.
By Sharyn Adams, Jaclyn Houston-Kolnik, And Jessica Reichert
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Crime & Risk Factor Data Tools

With support from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, ICJIA has developed several data analysis and dissemination tools to give users convenient and flexible ways to access and interact with ICJIA’s extensive criminal justice and associated risk factor data holdings.

Criminal Justice Data Profiles

The Criminal Justice Data Profiles tool offers criminal justice indicators that allow users to create county, judicial circuit, and statewide profiles. These profiles may be used to inform planning and policy decisions.

Criminal Justice Data Profiles 

Criminal history and recidivism tool

The Criminal History and Recidivism Tool provides information on the patterns of prior criminal history of various cohorts of persons sentenced to prison in Illinois, and their long-term recidivism rates upon release. Tables and charts display several types of information: demographic information on the selected group of interest; the number and types of prior arrests, convictions, probation and prison sentences; and post-release recidivism rates based on multiple types of criminal justice events and demographic categories.

Criminal History and Recidivism Tool 

Single Map Analysis Tool

The Single Map Analysis Tool is useful for those interested in a visual snapshot of how Illinois counties compare on various crime and criminal justice indicators. The tool displays this information in two interactive formats; as an Illinois map, and as corresponding trend lines over the previous ten years. Users can select any number of counties, regions or judicial circuits for comparison.

Single Map Analysis Tool 

Scatter Plot Analysis Tool

The Scatter Plot Analysis Tool allows users to compare the relationship between two different criminal justice indicators within a county, and determine how all Illinois counties rank on that joint set of crime statistics or criminal justice indicators. The tool displays this information in several interactive formats; as Illinois maps and as a corresponding scatter plot showing correlations for all counties or custom sets of counties in Illinois.

Scatter Plot Analysis Tool 

These tools come with a variety of built-in Help features to assist users as they navigate the unique analysis functions.

For more information or assistance with these tools, contact the Research & Analysis Criminal Justice Information Clearinghouse Unit at 312-793-8550, or email cja.irc@illinois.gov.