College of Social Work
The Florida State University
September/October 2020

Prioritizing rapid dissemination of research findings to advocates, professionals, and policymakers.
Dear IJRD Team –

I know I mentioned this in an email, but it bears repeating. I am so grateful to each and every one of you for your incredible efforts to keep all of our projects on track during such an unprecedented and challenging time, while simultaneously balancing and maintaining other areas of your lives, and caring for children and loved ones. Your work is crucial for the success of our projects and makes real and tangible positive impacts in the lives of study participants and those individuals who will make contact with the criminal justice system in the future. None of this would happen without you!

IJRD is in the process of developing a plan to safely resume face-to-face activities for some study participants while seeking to maintain the health and well-being of our team members and participants. Many thanks to all who participated in our Organizational Readiness Survey a few weeks ago - we are using your responses to help guide us as we develop our plan to move our research projects forward.

Below, please read team updates and learn more about the work we are all doing to promote racial and economic equity, change conventional criminal justice outcomes, and help justice-involved individuals, families, and communities to develop well-being. Our personal well-being section features strategies for filling your well and decreasing any feelings of stress and overwhelm you might be feeling. 

Thank you again for all of the hard work you do to generate data-driven criminal justice reform solutions! 
With admiration,

Don't forget to donate at Day1, like us on Facebook, join us on Twitter, follow us on LinkedIn, and watch us on YouTube
Happy Birthday!

Rachel Schmidt    Sep 24

Stephen Tripodi    Oct 7
Solomon Shepherd    Oct 7 
Nancy McCarthy    Oct 13
William Rone    Oct 16
DonnaTillis-Radcliff    Oct 26
Katie Morphonios    Oct 26
Happy Work-a-versary!
2 years!
Davonna MacArthur

1 year!
Katherine Herzog
Sierra Ross
Rachel Schmidt
Welcome Aboard!
A warm welcome to Priya Adhikari, who joins us as a student intern on our Communications and Dissemination teams in Tallahassee! Priya is an undergraduate Psychology major who is excited to be an active part of creating sustainable and humane change in our justice system through a rehabilitative lens. 

Click the image to learn more!
Please welcome Rachel Bowns who joins us as a Research Technician on our Tallahassee team! Rachel's goals are to research and deliver trauma-informed care services to individuals in incarceration settings and to help individuals as they leave incarceration and return home through victim advocacy and reentry services.  

Click the image to learn more!

We welcome Victoria Conner, who joins us as a Research Technician on our Tallahassee team! Victoria volunteered at several prisons which ignited her passion for research and advocacy. 

Click the image to learn more!

A warm welcome to Erin DuPristle, who joins us as a Project Specialist on our Jacksonville Team! Erin has extensive experience as an LCSW working with individuals under community supervision, justice-involved youth, and the families of those involved with the criminal justice system.  

Click the image to learn more! 

Rachel Fulmer is the new Project Manager for our Gainesville, Florida team! In this role, she'll examine the use of crisis stabilization units and their effect on community health and police functions. Rachel joined us as a Research Technician in 2019 while pursuing joint graduate degrees in Social Work and Criminology and we are so proud to see her in this new role!  

Click the image to learn more!

We are excited for Olivia Hitchcock to join us as a Research Technician on our Tallahassee team! Olivia's worked for several years as a journalist, which ignited her passion for working directly impacted by their involvement in the criminal justice system.  

Click the image to learn more!


A warm welcome to Haley Jahn, who joins us as a Research Technician on our Tallahassee team. Haley is passionate about working with vulnerable individuals and families and she is excited to explore data-driven solutions to reduce the negative effects of incarceration. 

Click the image to learn more!

Welcome to Breanna Kim who joins us as a Graduate Research Assistant on our Tallahassee team! Breanna is a doctoral student in the FSU College of Social Work interested in researching criminal justice policy and drug policy reforms as well as harm reduction approaches to problematic substance use.

Click the image to learn more!

Please welcome Sarah Michaelsen, who joins us as a Project Manager for our Jacksonville Team! Sarah brings an extensive background working in criminal justice and she is passionate about education and the implementation of best practices in correctional settings. 

Click the image to learn more!

New Report Released!
Carrie Pettus-Davis, Founding Executive Director, Stephanie Kennedy, Director of Research Dissemination, and Faye Miller, Research & Assessment Specialist released a new report on the COVID-19 related experiences of 5-Key Model study participants. 

Click the image to read the report!
Personal & Professional Accomplishments

Taylor Russel, a Project Specialist on our Indiana team, welcomed her daughter, Taya Dawn, into her family on September 4! 

Greg Stevens, our Central Office Finance & Accounting Manager, welcomed his son, Alexandre Michael, into his family on September 17! 
Bill Rone, our Community Engagement Advisor, was featured in a powerful video produced by the Sentencing Project on restoring voting rights to individuals with felony convictions. Bill is passionate about voting and wrote an op-ed last year published in the Lexington Herald-Leader about how joining our Kentucky team as a Post-Master's Fellow meant sacrificing his right to vote. Click the image to watch the video, which also features Jane Dwyer Lee, a member of FSU's College of Social Work faculty!
Carrie Pettus-Davis, Founding Executive Director, has been working on several scholarly products designed to advance anti-racism work throughout the criminal justice system:
  • She wrote a book chapter entitled "Transforming Policy and Research on Reentry" for an edited volume titled Big Ideas in Criminal Justice: An Evidence-Based Agenda for Reform. The chapter exploring how racism influences the design and interpretation of many common risk assessments used throughout criminal justice and proposes data-driven equitable solutions. 
  • She gave a talk entitled, “Equity throughout the Criminal Justice System: Status and Potential Solutions,” to more than 100 members of the William H. Stafford American Inn of Court, comprised of Florida judges, lawyers, and law students.  
  • With colleagues from FSU and the Washington University in St. Louis, Carrie submitted a grant to the National Institutes of Health entitled, "Transforming Health Equity Research in Integrated Primary Care: Antiracism as a Disruptive Innovation." This project aims to disrupt the racist attitudes, behaviors, and practices at the healthcare provider and organizational-systems level to achieve physical and behavioral health equity. The investigators will identify "inflection points" for intervention throughout the healthcare system, deploying anti-racism as a disruptive innovation to revolutionize health equity interventions.  
With colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Boston University, and the University of Chicago, Carrie Pettus-Davis also co-hosted the virtual convening of the ‘Promote Smart Decarceration’ Grand Challenge Workgroup The Grand Challenges for Social Work are the flagship program of the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare and seek to champion social progress powered by science. 
The Learning Corner
Please don't forget to join us monthly for We Got This Wednesdays! We hold WGTW on the first Wednesday of each month from 5-6pm EST. Our goal is to provide a low-stress space for you to get to know all of your IJRD team members!

Please also participate in the Say Something groups so that you can voice any concerns or issues you might be having related to anything about your work at IJRD. We want you to feel comfortable bringing our attention to any problems so that we can help find solutions! 

We designed these spaces based on IJRD team member feedback and have been having low participation. Please let us know if you would like these forums to continue or if we could create a space to better meet your needs as team members. Feel free to reach out to Stephanie Kennedy at with comments, concerns, or suggestions! 
Click the image to watch a panel Carrie Pettus-Davis participated in earlier this month! The panel was entitled “Addressing Social Justice Issues Impacting Workforce Needs” and was presented at the 2-day Home Builders Institute Industry Convening.

Carrie underscored the importance of preparing employers not just to engage in second-chance hiring, but to become culturally competent about the lasting effects of incarceration on an individual's world view. These lasting negative effects often complicate an individual's ability to be retained or promoted as employees when employers are unaware of the true impact of incarceration. She also highlighted the urgent need to shift the orientation from recruiting individual employees to recruiting entire families as a potent means of meeting the Bome Builder Institute's mission to change lives through career development.

Watch all of Day 1 and Day 2 of the convening if you'd like to learn more!
Attend a colloquium co-hosted by the Humanities Digital Workshop and the Freedom | Information | Acts Studiolab on October 27th at 3:30 p.m. via Zoom. The event features Haley Shoaf, the Vice President of Impact of LaunchCode, and a team of incarcerated student programmers at Missouri's Potosi Correctional Center.

Click the image to view the flyer and email Matt Kelley at to RSVP!

Join the two-part webinar series on Microaggressions Nov 6 & Nov 17, 2020 from 12-1:30pm EST. The webinars explore microaggressions, how they connect to unconscious bias and oppression and provide basic ideas of what to do when we mess up and perpetuate a microaggression in the workplace, the classroom, and the world. 

Click the image to register and click here to learn more!

We have been posting recorded 'how-to' tutorials on a range of subjects that might interest you!

Learn how to stay organized using project management software and the basics of research and statistics! New recordings are uploaded periodically, so keep checking back to learn more!

Click the image to see what you can learn today!  

SAMHSA is holding a free webinar on October 29 from 12:30-2 pm EST entitled, 'Coming Home to Work: Ways to Support Employment after Incarceration.'

The webinar will focus on how to help individuals successfully transition back home (especially those with substance use or mental health disorders). Presenters will give recommendations for starting and running a community-based reentry employment program and those with lived experience will identify barriers to employment and how to overcome those barriers. 

Click the image to register!  
Of Interest
Click the image to listen to Brené Brown interview Drs. Emily and Amelia Nagoski on the Unlocking Us podcast! Conversation centers on the Nagoski's new book entitled, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle.

Specifically, they discuss what causes burnout, what it does to our bodies, and how we can move through the emotional exhaustion toward well-being. 

Click to find all episodes of Unlocking Us and also check out the Feminist Survival Project 2020, the podcast produced by Emily and Amelia Nagoski.
Click the image to read an article featuring our most recent Quarterly Report!

The article details how the COVID-19 pandemic, and the restrictions enacted by communities to control the spread fo the virus, affected individuals during incarceration and shortly after their release.
Click the image to read an op-ed published in the Asheville Citizen-Times about post-traumatic stress among law enforcement officers and how post-traumatic stress may, in the words of Carrie Pettus-Davis, "lead officers to a misappraisal of social situations that can lead to disproportionate reactions.”

This supports the need for our training programs currently under development to help law enforcement officers to recognize and manage their own post-traumatic stress. 

Click the image to read the piece!

Click the image to read an op-ed published in the Orlando Sentinel by Gil Zifffer, who notes how individuals leaving incarceration and returning home deserve much more than the right to vote - they need access to opportunities to enable them to successfully rejoin our communities.

Ziffer highlights listening to experts like Carrie Pettus-Davis, Founding Executive Director, and identifying and implementing data-driven solutions.

Click the image to read an op-ed published in the Washington Examiner by Andrew Afifian, a policy analyst with Right on Crime! This piece highlights our last quarterly report which found that nearly half of the 5-Key Model study participants experienced a severe trauma in the 8 months since their release.

Afifian calls for maintaining and increasing individuals' access to mental health and rehabilitation programs as they return home from incarceration. 

Well-Being Corner

Regaining calm in a chaotic time               Illustration: Adrian Forrow
Carving out time to "refill your well' is especially challenging these days. This edition of Well-Being Corner focuses on strategies for all of us to learn how limit news consumption, explore creative outlets, and find peace in the midst of uncertainty.

Our goal is for all of us to feel less stress and overwhelm, instead developing our feelings of groundedness and connection. 
Managing your media consumption

Are you on media overload? You're not alone! Many of us are struggling to consume media in a way that helps us feel informed, rather than depleted or overwhelmed. With access to thousands of news sources every hour of the day, we wanted to explore strategies for curating our media consumption.

Click the image to learn how to adjust settings and filters to ensure that you see the reputable news sources you would like to engage with and avoid the pitfalls of viral misinformation. 

For those of you with children, here's a source to help your whole family engage mindfully with social and other forms of media

And if you're ready to find strategies to cut down your smartphone and social media engagement (you can do it!), here's a great article with tech tips to support you! 
Engaging in creativity

Whether you consider yourself to be an artist or you've described yourself as a person who struggles to draw a straight line, making art has been shown to increase relaxation and help people to manage their emotions. Click the image to read more about a Drexel University study that shows how making art decreases stress hormones.

Drawing, painting, knitting or crocheting, sculpting with modeling clay, or using magazine images to create collages are all great ways to engage your own creative process, regardless of your skill level!
Finding peace in the midst of uncertainty

Many of us have been feeling stressed lately, so we compiled some evidence-driven strategies to help you decompress, manage stress, and find a place of peace during a time many suggest is full of emotional overwhelm.
  1. Get some physical exercise every day - many of us have been walking and loving that time! 
  2. Try to reduce your caffeine intake if you're feeling anxious or jittery.
  3. Set aside time for resting and restorative sleep.
  4. Listen to soothing music. Music has been shown to calm us and help us connect to and explore our emotions. 
  5. Experiment with scents by lighting scented candles. Aromatherapy may help you feel calmer and more peaceful. 
  6. Consider keeping a journal to help you explore your thoughts and feelings.
  7. Connect with your loved ones to help you feel supported and energized.
  8. Focus on laughter! Sharing stories with your loved ones or listening to a comedy program are great ways to add more laughter into your day.
  9. Consider practicing yoga. Taking time to focus on your body and breathing has been shown to decrease stress.
  10. Explore mindfulness practices. Focusing on your breathing through mindfulness exercises can help you feel grounded in the present and decrease the intensity of your feelings of stress or anxiety.

Please don't forget that if you need additional support during this time, the FSU Employee Assistance Program offers free, confidential services to all FSU employees.

The EAP has assisted thousands of employees through professional, personal and family issues. 

Click the image to learn more.
A quick note from the Newsletter team!

We love making this newsletter and we think you might too! Our team members help us identify exciting upcoming events, assemble the team's personal and professional accomplishments, and develop the personal well-being section. We are eager for your ideas on how to make our newsletters more relevant and useful to team members so please join us!

If you would like to join our newsletter committee, please contact Stephanie Kennedy at

You can learn more about our media coverage, access podcasts and interviews, link to press conferences, and read all of our scholarship on our website

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