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 |

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

Kaitlyn Konefal | Full Bio

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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

Lynne Mock , Ph.D. | Full Bio

Research Analyst | (312) 793-8550 |

Mental and behavioral health, community corrections and public health, research methods, program evaluation, and African American psychology and culture

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

Erin Sheridan | Full Bio

Research Analyst | 312-793-8550 |

  • Master of Science, Criminal Justice and Criminology, Loyola University
  • Currently working on PhD, Criminal Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago

Corrections and law enforcement, and is actually trained as both a correctional officer and police officer

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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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
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
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
An Overview of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders for Criminal Justice-Involved Individuals
July 18, 2017 | Article | Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders (OUD)
There is a national opioid epidemic and one intervention to help those suffering from an opioid use disorder (OUD) is medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT is the use of medications in conjunction with behavioral therapy as part of a long-term treatment regimen. There are three main MAT medications used today—methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Research has shown MAT, in particular the use of methadone or buprenorphine, is considered an evidence-based practice to treat OUD. Studies indicate those in MAT have better outcomes than those who engage in therapy alone. This article provides an overview of MAT with a focus on use with criminal justice populations.
By Jessica Reichert, Lily Gleicher, And Elizabeth Salisbury-Afshar
Juvenile Justice in Illinois, 2015
July 12, 2017 | Article | Juvenile Justice, Juveniles

Juvenile Justice in Illinois, 2015, provides a statistical overview of the juvenile justice system in Illinois across four decision points in which data were available: arrest, detention admissions, active probation caseloads, and new sentence admissions to corrections. Statewide and regional figures are provided with rates spanning from 2011 to 2015. In addition, population, demographic, and offense type information is provided for decision points in which data were available in 2015. Overall, rates for arrest, active probation caseload, detention admissions, and new sentence admissions to corrections have decreased between 2011 and 2015; however, the Central and Southern regions had slight increases in detention admission rates.

By Lily Gleicher
Community Violence Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression
June 21, 2017 | Article | Community Violence
Addressing street-level violence such as murders and aggravated assaults and batteries that occur on the public way and often involve firearms requires a multi-pronged approach. One effective model for addressing street violence, and, in particular, gang-related or group-involved street violence, is the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Comprehensive Gang Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression Model. The model involves implementing complementary and coordinated prevention, intervention, and suppression activities in a single community. This article provides examples of evidence-based practices and programs that strengthen youth resilience and build social capital and work to reduce threats or perceived threats using the OJJDP model as a framework. The article also highlights how the model is enhanced when community stakeholders consider how trauma has impacted residents and those targeted by intervention and suppression efforts.
By Megan Alderden
Study of Self-Reported Prescription Drug Use Among a Sample of Illinois Prisoners
June 15, 2017 | Article | Substance use disorders, corrections, prison, prescription drug use
While more than half of individuals incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons meet the diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder, little is known about their misuse of prescription drugs. In this study, Authority researchers, in collaboration with WestCare Foundation Illinois, surveyed 573 state prisoners on prescription drug use to examine prevalence, accessibility, motivation for use, and effects. Forty-six percent of the sample reported using prescription drugs to get high and 20 percent used prescription drugs daily in the year before their incarceration.
By Lily Gleicher, Jessica Reichert, And Dustin Cantrell
Victim Needs Assessment
April 18, 2017 | Article | Victim Services, Victimization
In 2016, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority contracted with Aeffect, Inc. to conduct a statewide victim needs assessment. The study was designed to guide the ICJIA victim services planning process and provide insight into the prevalence of victimization, needs of victims, and their receipt and satisfaction with services. Major findings of the assessment are outlined.
By Tracy Hahn
Reducing Substance Use Disorders and Related Offending: A Continuum of Evidence-Informed Practices in the Criminal Justice System
April 7, 2017 | Article | Criminal Justice, Substance Use Disorders, Evidence-Informed Practices
By Lily Gleicher
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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.