Justin Escamilla

Justin earned his BA in psychology with a minor in criminal justice from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, and his MA and PhD in criminology, law, & justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is typically drawn to research related to policing, psychology, policy, youth/community development, and technology. His past research collaborations include a community survey about surveillance cameras on CTA trains, an evaluation of police body-worn camera implementation, two national surveys of police officers, and several community surveys about face-to-face police interactions. Justin’s dissertation explored the work of police officers through the lenses of community policing, emotional labor, and procedural justice and tested the relationships between officer emotional intelligence, officer attitudes and community ratings of officer demeanor.

Justin Escamilla is Authority Acting Manager, Center for Criminal Justice Data and Analytics.


A Survey of Law Enforcement in Central Illinois to Guide Violence Reduction Strategies and Project Safe Neighborhoods
August 12, 2019 | Report | Police, Violent Crime
Project Safe Neighborhoods is a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to support prosecutor-led development of local, tailored initiatives to reduce gun and gang violence. In partnership with the Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Central Illinois District’s Project Safe Neighborhoods team, ICJIA conducted a survey of police and sheriff departments in Illinois’ Central region on violent crime. The survey included questions on characteristics of violent crime, involvement of guns and gangs in violent crime, and law enforcement efforts to reduce violent crime. Responses indicated domestic violence was the most prominent violent crime in the region and that gun and gang violence were concentrated in a small number of jurisdictions. Additionally, law enforcement respondents indicated they employed a variety of strategies to reduce violent crime, including focused deterrence, “hot spots,” and street stop approaches.
By Justin Escamilla
Entrepreneurship for the Formerly Incarcerated: A Process Evaluation of the Pathway to Enterprise for Returning Citizens (PERC) Program
May 28, 2019 | Report | prisoner reentry
Formerly incarcerated individuals may be unable to secure stable employment and struggle to acquire income; however, opening a small business may offer this population an alternative to the traditional job market. Researchers evaluated the Pathway to Enterprise for Returning Citizens (PERC) program, which offered training in entrepreneurship and other resources to those returning from Illinois prisons to Cook County. Researchers examined delivery of PERC’s entrepreneurship training, experiences of program participants and training staff, program completion among participants, and knowledge gains with information from focus groups, surveys, interviews, and administrative records. Feedback from staff and participants was mostly positive and the program increased entrepreneurship knowledge. However, engaging the 72 returning citizens in the program was a challenge—of all eligible participants, 16 attended the first week of training (22 percent) and only 12 graduated the program (17 percent).
By Justin Escamilla, Jessica Reichert, Lauren Weisner, And Christopher Mayer
Illinois Arrests and Prison Admissions for Drug Offenses: Interactive Data
October 11, 2018 | Article | Drug Offenses
This interactive data on drug-related arrests and prison admissions allow users to explore the types of drug offenses for which individuals are arrested and admitted to prison, the locations in which different types of drug arrests and prison admissions occur in Illinois, and the characteristics of those admitted to prison for each type of drug offense.
By Justin Escamilla And Sharyn Adams
BetaGov Supports Practitioners and Evaluators in Conducting Randomized Control Trials to Test Criminal Justice Programs
October 2, 2018 | Article | Reentry
This article explores the use of randomized control trials (RCTs) to test criminal justice programs to measure effectiveness. BetaGov is a group that offers assistance to practitioners and researchers to conduct RCTs. An example of such a collaboration between ICJIA and Betagov is offered along with lessons learned.
By Justin Escamilla, Jessica Reichert, Maureen Hillhouse, And Angela Hawken
Focused Deterrence: A Policing Strategy to Combat Gun Violence
June 22, 2018 | Article | Law Enforcement
Gun violence continues to be a major criminal justice and public health issue. This article provides an overview of one strategy to reduce gun violence—focused deterrence. The strategy has been employed in many major U.S. cities, including in Illinois in Chicago, Peoria, and Rockford. Overall research on focused deterrence strategies has found statistically significant reductions in violent crime.
By Jessica Reichert, Vernon Smith, Sharyn Adams, Lily Gleicher, Laurel Hill, And Justin Escamilla
Illinois Opioid Prescription Data
May 21, 2018 | Article | Criminal Justice Data
By Justin Escamilla And Alysson Gatens