Broadly, my research focuses on identifying best practices in the criminal justice system (chiefly in community corrections) for the assessment, management, and treatment of justice-involved people. Given my training in psychology, and psychology's emphasis on measuring, predicting, and changing behavior, I emphasize psychological theories and principles in my research. At the same time, I try to incorporate theories and methodologies from other fields when appropriate. Some examples of topics I have addressed recently include:
a) identifying best practices for the community supervision of justice-involved people with mental disorder
b) officer attitudes, professional orientations, and decision-making in community corrections
c) the stigmatization of justice-involved people with mental disorder and how this affects their criminal justice and mental health outcomes
d) mental health screening in the criminal justice system
e) the needs of special populations of justice-involved people, such as women and members of ethnic minority groups
Current and Recent Projects:
TRAS Officer Training Evaluation. This evaluation seeks to understand the effectiveness of a training program for probation officers in conducting risk assessments.
SDS Training Evaluation. This evaluation seeks to understand the effectiveness of a training program aimed at improving probation supervision. In particular, this study examines the factors related to successful implementation of a probation supervision program.
Understanding the Mental Health and Trauma Needs of Hispanic Women Offenders. This study represents a first step towards understanding the unique mental health needs of Hispanic women offenders, and the factors that lead these women towards criminal behavior. This research is being conducted with the assistance of the El Paso County Sheriff's office, and is funded by a grant from the University Research Institute at UTEP.
Mental Health Screening in Hispanic Juvenile Offenders. This study seeks to validate a mental health screening measure (the MAYSI-2) among Hispanic juvenile offenders (primarily of Mexican and Mexican-American origin). This project is being conducted in partnership with the El Paso County Juvenile Probation Department, and seeks to maximize the accuracy of identifying serious mental disorder among Hispanic juveniles in correctional settings.