Institute for Justice Research and Development
College of Social Work
The Florida State University
July 2021

Focusing on Human Potential

With this newsletter, we celebrate IJRD's third birthday. Although members of our team have been engaged in this work for decades, this summer we celebrate our time as an institute focused on generating and testing innovative solutions to criminal justice reform and rapidly disseminating our findings to maximize policy impact and produce equity and prosperity across race, socioeconomic class, and behavioral health status. 

Our work at IJRD focuses on human potential - helping to reduce our nation's unnecessary reliance on incarceration and supporting criminal justice system-involved individuals to develop well-being and thrive in our communities. We work at all phases of the criminal justice system, starting from an individual’s first law enforcement contact, to their interaction with prosecutors, confinement in jail or prison, to their reentry and stabilization in the community 
to address the need to transform the justice system in the US.

We prepare systems for change by partnering with those individuals capable of making transformative changes to policy and practice. In this way, we have helped officers recognize on-the-job trauma thus reducing use of force, prosecutors to create evidence-driven programs for diverting individuals with mental health and substance use disorders into treatment, jails and prisons to offer cutting edge, trauma-informed behavioral health services to assist the more than 90% of incarcerated individuals who need them, and we have transformed the reentry services landscape by providing the data-driven, well-being oriented 5-Key Model for Reentry program so that individuals can thrive upon release.

We prepare communities to expand opportunities to individuals who have experienced incarceration by helping employers not just to perform second chance hiring, but to effectively support, retain, and promote these loyal and dedicated workers.

We support individuals with direct services as they leave incarceration and return home so that they may heal from their experiences of trauma, develop well-being, and thrive in the community.
Over the past 6 months, we have expanded the reach of our criminal justice reform solutions by creating several new trainings, disseminating our research through high-impact publications and presentations, and collaborating with a range of new stakeholders eager to enact change in their own communities. 

Thank you for your continued support of IJRD as we work alongside our stakeholders – professionals, advocates, policymakers, and justice-involved individuals – to enact change in the criminal justice system from the inside out.

Warm regards,

Don't forget to take action to support our work, like us on Facebook, join us on Twitter, follow us on LinkedIn, and watch us on YouTube

IJRD Research Making a Difference in Individuals' Lives
Amberly Prykhodko, Director of Clinical and Professional Services,  partnered with Edward Andrews, Founder of Second Chance Reentry Initiative Program (SCRIP), to deliver specialized training to members of the Connecticut Department of Corrections in May, 2021. The training content included what trauma looks like, ways to interact and understand people who have experienced trauma, and how to better support them. The goal was to create more successful reentries for individuals leaving incarceration across Connecticut.

This partnership was formed when Andrews reached out to IJRD after reading a journal article written by IJRD researchers. The research helped him better understand himself, the unaddressed symptoms of trauma he was suffering from, and how those experiences related to his prior incarceration. Andrews used these findings and related research to found SCRIP and develop its reentry program curriculum. His goal was to help others address the invisible barriers of past trauma and make more effective life decisions as they release from incarceration.

A year after its inception, the eight graduates from SCRIP’s inaugural program are all still in the community, gainfully employed and have integrated SCRIP’s curriculum into their lives. “Real world research, when applied, can help individuals, and I am hopeful that we are going to continue to see it shape policy and reform institutions. It can truly spark systemic change.” said Andrews.

The training duo has also captured the interest of a large corporation to deliver cultural competency training for second chance promotion and retention to their many franchises across the US.
Policy Impact
Our work at IJRD is designed to achieve rapid policy impact through rapid dissemination of research findings across all our work. 

Our service and research teams are already in 10 states successfully shifting paradigms from one based on deficits to one of human potential and flourishing. We have over 250 instutional collaborators and we partner with thousands of justice-involved individuals who are engaged with designing and adapting our services and research innovations. In the last two years, we have released 43 policy briefs, research papers, and toolkits; gave 67 talks; and were in the Media over 100 times impacting public perception and informing policymakers.  

Members of the Prosecution Research Network (PRN) have been busy this year! The PRN is a national network of prosecutors formed in partnership with the Equitas Project, a national initiative of Mental Health Colorado. Members are dedicated to designing and implementing data-driven strategies to divert individuals with behavioral health disorders away from incarceration and into needed community supports.

Since our first PRN Summit last summer, members have been meeting bi-monthly to discuss initiatives, research projects, grant opportunities, and innovations learned from COVID-19. They have also been collecting and analyzing success stories of diversion clients and tailoring innovations to the specific needs of local jurisdictions. The PRN has many collaborators, including members of the Computational Justice Lab at Claremont Graduate University, who are using sophisticated statistical models to assess the cost-effectiveness of diversion when compared to incarceration and members of the Center for Justice Research at Texas Southern University, who are transforming results of the research into toolkits and other products with real-world implications.
Carrie Pettus also convened Secretaries and Directors of the Departments of Corrections in Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Texas - the first four 5-Key Model states - on March 30 & 31, 2021. The convenings highlighted preliminary 5-Key Model results on the association between increasing well-being among individuals releasing from prison and decreased rates of reincarceration and identified policy solutions to help individuals thrive in the community.
Our quarterly reports are designed to rapidly translate research findings to achieve policy impact. These reports highlight preliminary findings from our ongoing research projects and are written to be accessible to those with no formal research training. 
Click the image to learn about how the COVID-19 pandemic affected study participants in Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Texas, how individuals who participated in Phase 1 of the 5-Key Model study are doing today and what they learned from the 5-Key Model, and about preliminary associations between participation in our well-being-oriented 5-Key Model program and reincarceration after release from prison.
Professional Trainings
Our training catalog continues to expand to better meet the needs of our stakeholders. Browse our entire training catalog here and read below to learn about the impact our trainings are having in the community!
Amberly Prykhodko and Sarah Michaelsen, Program Manager, led a Peer-to-Peer Support Training with nearly 50 members of the St. Johns County, Florida Sheriff’s Office on April 26-27! This training was designed for law enforcement officers or first responders who want to gain a deeper understanding of how the mind and body react to on-the-job stress and learn actionable steps to help support others who are suffering. 

Click the image to learn more about this exciting new training!
We designed our Retaining Talent training to support second-chance hiring employers to develop a toolkit for retaining and promoting these highly motivated employees. 

According to a new report published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employers who engage in second-chance hiring find these workers to be dedicated and loyal. The Retaining Talent training provides second-chance employers with critical insight into second-chance employees and actionable strategies for supporting their growth and stability within the organization. 
This month, we launch our inaugural Summer Institute led by Carrie Pettus, IJRD's Founder and Executive Director. This exciting workshop prepares attendees to conduct intervention research in criminal justice settings or with justice-involved individuals and families. Attendees will leave the workshop with a funding proposal to get their work started! 

This workshop is SOLD OUT, but please click the image to learn more about the event and get on our waiting list if you would like to attend! In-person and virtual options are available.
Stay tuned for these exciting training opportunities on the horizon!
  • The 'Race, Class, and Health Equity in the Criminal Justice System' training series is designed for mental health professionals, reentry counselors, case managers, administrators, support staff, probation and parole officers, and anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the varied experiences of individuals coming in contact with the justice system. Training topics include an introduction to the US criminal justice system, trauma and men, race and poverty in the criminal justice system, trauma and women, traumatic brain injury, immigrants in the criminal justice system, LGBTQIA+, and native/indigenous populations. 
  • The 'Forensic Social Work Certification Program' is designed to prepare behavioral health professionals from a range of disciplines to develop competency in practicing forensic behavioral health with individuals in the criminal or civil justice systems.
  • We are developing new training to support healthy law enforcement families, helping the spouses of law enforcement officers to better understand the mental health and interpersonal impacts of the on-the-job stress experienced by their officer, as well how this stress impacts themselves and their families.
  • We are also developing specialized training for prosecutors, aiding those working in prosecution to recognize the impact of on-the-job stress on their mental health and well-being and provides strategies for stress management and burnout prevention.  
Keeping Our Work Grounded & Relevant
The Community Advisory Board maximizes the impact of our work at IJRD by ensuring we are relevant, accessible, and equitable. Board members have lived experience of the criminal justice system and work with us to review data collection strategies and materials, enhance intervention content and implementation strategies, generate strategies to foster connection with justice-involved individuals, and identify policy gaps.
In recent meetings, CAB members have provided expert consultation on several ongoing research projects including deepening our understanding of the short- and long-term traumatic effects of incarceration, helping criminal justice system-involved individuals to amplify their literacy around mental health and substance use disorders, and translating the 5-Key Model for delivery to incarcerated individuals using peer support coaches.   
On May 17-18, 2021 we convened the National Scientific Advisory Committee, a group of national experts who provide guidance and consultation on all aspects of IJRD's science and projects! We had an incredible conversation with group members who provided guidance on IJRD’s ongoing research projects, reviewed current analyses, and identified methods for increasing our research dissemination.

Featured Grants & Awards
Victoria Connor, Research Technician and current MSW student at FSU, was accepted as a 2021-2022 National Institute of Health, Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) LEAP Scholar! In this role, she will work alongside other criminal justice researchers, students, medical professionals, and social workers to advance knowledge and create policy impact for justice-involved individuals with opioid use disorders. 
Stephanie Kennedy, Director of Research Dissemination, was voted by FSU College of Social Work students as the Instructor of the Year! Students noted her engaged and compassionate teaching style and her ability to translate complex research content into highly accessible lectures and activities. 
Shelby Pederson, current doctoral student and Graduate Research Assistant with IJRD, was honored as the Doctoral Student of the Year for the College of Social Work.

Shelby also recently passed her standardized preliminary exam! 
Carrie Pettus received a National Institute of Health award from the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) Coordination and Translation Center. She will design and implement an interactive development series on fidelity monitoring and feedback loops in intervention and services research in criminal justice.
Presentations for Impact
Amberly Prykhodko presented at a virtual training sponsored by the St. John’s County Sherriff’s Office on May 15 designed to support clinicians interested in working with frontline, line-of-duty law enforcement staff and first responders (fire/rescue, EMS, corrections, dispatch). Prykhodko focused on how clinicians can cultivate cultural competency as an outsider when engaging with public service and safety personnel.
Bill Rone, Post-Master's Fellow and Community Engagement Advisor, presented to first-year medical students at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine on substance use disorders and recovery. The panel was part of the Patients Advocacy in Communities, Teams, and Health Systems (PACTS) Longitudinal course taken by all medical students to focus on the patient experience of illness and coping, with an emphasis on vulnerable and underserved populations.
Kerensa Lockwood, Director of Implementation and Administration, Community Advisory Board member Dale White, and Student Research Technician Olivia Hitchcock participated in a reentry symposium April 10, 2021. The event was hosted by the Mercy and Justice Core Community Group of the Good Shepherd Church of Tallahassee and addressed the needs of individuals returning home from prison, identified strategies to catalyze community responses, and discussed ways the faith community could amplify their work. 
Stephen Tripodi, Faculty Director of Academic Dissemination,  joined Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil, and other community reentry experts on May 22 to speak at an event hosted by the Achieve Higher Ground Foundation in Tallahassee. The goal of Professor Tripodi’s presentation was to highlight how experiences of trauma intersect with both incarceration and return to incarceration after release for service providers working with this population.  

He also presented a paper entitled, ‘Trauma informed care groups with incarcerated women: An alternative treatment design comparing Seeking Safety and STAIR’ at the Academic and Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health held by the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health on April 9.

Carrie Pettus participated in a Grand Challenges for Social Work Roundtable with colleagues from across the nation on Jan 22, 2021. The talk was entitled, “Up Ahead: Progress and Plans for the Grand Challenges” and she highlighted the work of the Promote Smart Decarceration Grand Challenge.

Jennifer Joseph, Clinical Training Specialist, conducted a training on Interactive Journaling, an innovative low-cost substance use disorder treatment, for the clinical staff at three prisons in Florida. 
Carrie Pettus has given several talks over the past few months: 
  • On Feb 11, 2021 Carrie presented to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office Citizen Advisory Board in Tallahassee, Florida. Her talk focused on key findings from the 5-Key Model study and a discussion of the associations between well-being enhancement and reduced reincarceration.
  • She presented a talk at a conference of the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) investigators and scholars on Feb 22, 2021. Her talk was entitled, “Study Design: Research ethics and writing a solid human subjects’ proposal to the institutional review board.”
  • On Mar 12, 2021 Carrie presented to more than 100 members of the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. The Town Hall meeting focused on big questions and new ideas on equity and reform; Carrie spoke about data-driven criminal justice reform and evidence-based strategies to improve equity through the criminal justice system.
Featured News Coverage

Click the image to read an article on how IJRD uses science to create data-driven solutions to drive down reliance on the criminal justice system using a whole-system approach to reform. 

Click the image to read an op-ed authored by Carrie Pettus published in the News Press. The piece is entitled, "Resiliency Behind the Badge - One-of-a-Kind Training for Law Enforcement."

She describes the research-backed training, which IJRD developed in partnership with the Florida Sherriff's Association. The training focuses on an officer’s mental health, including the effects of exposure to extremely stressful or traumatic events.

We are honored to be a part of the Big Bets Initiative at Florida State University! The Big Bets initiative is a bold experiment designed to connect extraordinary researchers with big-thinking funders. Click the image to learn more and click here to read an article describing the initiative
Click the image to read an op-ed written by Edward Andrews of the Second Chance Reentry Initiative Program (SCRIP) featured above in professional trainings. Andrews wrote this piece to describe how he used IJRD's research on the trauma experienced by incarcerated men to understand himself and develop data-driven curriculum for the ASCEND program, specifically designed to help men leaving prison to process their trauma and thrive in the community after release. 
Academic Publications
The foundational Well-Being Development Model article is in press! This paper, authored by Carrie Pettus, Chris Veeh, Faculty Associate, Tanya Renn, Faculty Director of Academic Dissemination, and Stephanie Kennedy, Director of Research Dissemination, describes the theoretical foundation for our well-being orientation at IJRD and will publish in the September issue of the Social Service Review.

You can read a white paper version of the paper here. 
Carrie Pettus, Stephanie Kennedy, and Chris Veeh recently published a paper exploring the COVID-19 related experiences of individuals enrolled in the 5-Key Model study who experienced incarceration during the pandemic. The paper is entitled "Incarcerated individuals’ experiences of COVID-19 in the United States" and was published in the International Journal of Prisoner Health.

Carrie Pettus published a paper entitled, “Support4Families: A Proposed Intervention Model to Support Families of Individuals Returning Home From Incarceration” which presents the theoretical and empirical grounding and describes the evidence-driven intervention components of a family skills training intervention designed to support families welcoming their loved one home from incarceration. 

An article entitled, "Associations of childhood and adult trauma on substance misuse and mental health among incarcerated men” -  authored by Tanya Renn, Chris Veeh, Carrie Pettus, and John Moore, a colleague from the University of Texas at Austin - is in press with the Social Service Review.

The article, “The geographic context of substance use and substance use disorders among adults on probation or parole supervision” is in press with the Substance Abuse Journal. This article was authored by Tanya Renn, Chris Veeh, and John Moore.

Carrie Pettus, along with colleagues from the University of Louisville, have an article entitled, "Correlates of Post-traumatic Stress among Victimized Women on Probation and Parole" in press with the Probation Journal.
Join the IJRD Team
IJRD is a team of passionate innovators and social scientists. Through creativity and research, we are re-envisioning a country with a dramatically reduced need for the criminal justice system. Whether you find us in prison, on the Senate floor, or researching in the community, you will find us confronting challenges and offering data-driven solutions to make a difference in the lives of others. IJRD is a woman-led organization and we seek to hire individuals with lived experience of the criminal justice system.

We are hiring for a range of positions to support the delivery of our data-driven solutions to criminal justice reform in communities across the nation!

Click here to learn how you can join us.
Take Action
Support for IJRD’s research is crucial to enacting our mission to use science to improve lives, communities, and institutions by developing and researching innovations that reduce unnecessary reliance on the criminal justice system and by offering solutions that produce equity and prosperity across race, socioeconomic class, and behavioral health status.

Learn how you can support our work.
You can learn more about our policy impactmedia coverage, access podcasts and interviews, link to press conferences, and read all of our scholarship on our website

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