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

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

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


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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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
Using U.S. Law-Enforcement Data: Promise and Limits in Measuring Human Trafficking
April 4, 2017 | Article | Law Enforcement
Over the past decade, federal, state, and local law enforcement have increasingly been called upon to identify and investigate human-trafficking offenses. Numerous efforts have been put in place to track incidents, arrests, and criminal offenses related to human trafficking. In response to directives from the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (2008), the FBI added two new crime categories to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) to capture commercial-sex acts and involuntary servitude. Additionally, in an effort to improve our understanding of the prevalence of human trafficking in the United States, state legislatures have begun to require the collection of data on human trafficking offenses identified by criminal-justice officials. However, despite the promises of standardized data from law enforcement about human trafficking, the numbers of reported human-trafficking offenses and arrests have been low. In this article, we examine official counts of human trafficking collected by criminal-justice-system data programs. We draw on data from a survey of state crime-reporting agencies and case studies of human trafficking crime reporting conducted in two U.S. states to explore the challenges that local police agencies face reporting human trafficking. Finally, we offer suggestions for improving officially reported data.
By Amy Farrell And Jessica Reichert
Illinois Drug Threat Assessment: A Survey of Police Chiefs and County Sheriffs
March 9, 2017 | Report | Law enforcement
It is important for states to understand current drug and crime trends in order to be proactive. Local law enforcement can provide important contributions in identifying emerging drug and crime trends as frontline officers. To get the local law enforcement perspective, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority administered a survey to Illinois police chiefs and county sheriffs to gain insight regarding drug trafficking in their jurisdiction. Eighty-three police chiefs and county sheriffs responded to the survey, most frequently identifying heroin and prescription drugs as the greatest drug threats in their jurisdictions. Methamphetamine was also reported as the greatest drug threat in the central and southern regions of Illinois. This article is a summary of key findings of the full report.
By Lily Gleicher And Jessica Reichert
Study of self-reported synthetic drug use among a sample of Illinois prisoners
February 17, 2017 | Article | Synthetic Drug Use
Synthetic drug use is a growing public health concern. Synthetics are often cheaper and more readily available than cannabis and amphetamines, making them attractive alternatives to other illicit drugs. In addition, the chemical formulas for these drugs are constantly changing, making them difficult to regulate, and their detection is limited in commonly used drug screenings. Authority researchers partnered with WestCare Foundation to survey 573 state prisoners on synthetic drug use to examine prevalence, accessibility, motivation for use, and effects. Thirty-six percent of respondents reported any synthetic drug use in the 12-months prior to incarceration. Findings suggested a proportion of the criminal justice population engages in synthetic drug use and the findings were consistent with other research on synthetic drug use.
By Lily Gleicher, Jessica Reichert, And Dustin Cantrell
An examination of juvenile sex offenders in the Illinois juvenile justice system
February 14, 2017 | Full Report | Juvenile Sex Offenders
Juveniles adjudicated delinquent for a sex offense can result in lifelong consequences, including sex offender registration. Further, there can be repercussions financially, emotionally, and socially for a juvenile and his/her family that extend throughout the individual’s life. Given the potential negative impact of sex offender registration, it is important to understand the implications of the registry within the larger context of youth development and juvenile justice. This report analyzes characteristics of youth arrested, detained, and admitted to corrections in Illinois in 2014 and associated trends from 2004 to 2014.
By Erica Hughes, Lily Gleicher, Susan Witkin, Vernon S. Smith, And Caitlin DeLong
Ad Hoc Victim Services Committee Research Report
January 31, 2017 | Report | Victims
The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority convened an Ad Hoc Victim Services Committee in January to review research to identify crime victim needs and service gaps and measure capacity of Illinois victim service providers. The Committee then set funding priorities to address those needs, gaps, and capacity issues. The priorities were later approved by the ICJIA Board and will guide notices of funding opportunity and statewide funding decisions for the next three years.
By Megan Alderden And Jaclyn Houston-Kolnik
Rethinking Law Enforcement’s Role on Drugs: Community Drug Intervention and Diversion Efforts
January 25, 2017 | Article | Law Enforcement
Police administrators across the country are recognizing the need to connect individuals with whom they come into contact in the community to evidence-based treatment to better address the large social and economic burden of substance use disorders (SUD), a chronic and relapsing condition. Police frequently encounter substance using individuals and their families in the community, and often have repeat contacts with individuals suffering from SUD. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of different police agency responses to individuals with SUD that are intended to prevent overdose deaths and divert individuals with SUD away from the criminal justice system and toward appropriate support and treatment.
By Jessica Reichert And Lily Gleicher
National and Illinois Youth Substance Use: Risk Factors, Prevalence, and Treatment
January 9, 2017 | Article | Drugs
During stages of ongoing, yet incomplete, cognitive development, youth may be more inclined to take risks and experiment with drugs and alcohol and are often heavily influenced by their peers, leading to negative outcomes. Nationally and in Illinois, traditionally high drug use categories of marijuana and alcohol appear to be stable or falling and youth use of other drugs remains relatively low.
By Jessica Reichert, Caitlin DeLong, And Kaitlyn Konefal
2016: Our Year in Review
January 6, 2017 | Article | Article
The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority took great strides in its mission of improving the administration of criminal justice in 2016. Here is a look back at the agency’s most notable initiatives and achievements for the year.
By Cristin Evans
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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