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 | Full Bio

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

Justin Escamilla | Full Bio

Research Analyst | 312-793-8550 |

Alysson Gatens | Full Bio

Research Analyst | 312-793-8550 |

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.

Bobae Kang | Full Bio

Research Analyst |

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

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

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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News Reporting on Human Trafficking: Exploratory Qualitative Interviews with Illinois News Journalists
January 16, 2018 | Article | Victims
Media—in particular news coverage—contribute toward shaping public understanding and opinion on societal issues, and influence policies, programs, and legislative action. While a small number of previous studies have explored journalists’ reporting on other social issues, very little is known about their perceptions and knowledge of human trafficking. In this exploratory study, researchers conducted 12 qualitative interviews with Illinois newspaper reporters to examine their understanding and work process in covering human trafficking. The results suggest that while many reporters understand the federal definition of trafficking, there remain gaps in knowledge about the complexity of the issue. Furthermore, the work process that reporters follow to report on human trafficking differs by their particular role and level of experience, with investigative stories on human trafficking being covered by more seasoned reporters who have the time and space to explore the issue in greater depth. The study findings highlight the importance of, and constraints upon, comprehensive news coverage on human trafficking.
By Jessica Reichert, Jaclyn Houston-Kolnik, Amanda L. Vasquez, And Emma Peterson
Sex Offenses & Sex Offender Registration Task Force Final Report
January 2, 2018 | Research Report | Sex Offender
In 2016, the Illinois’ 99th General Assembly established the Sex Offenses and Sex Offender Registration Task Force to examine the implementation and impact of the state’s sex offender registration and residency restrictions. The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority provided the Task Force with administrative support. This report summarizes and concludes its work.
By Sex Offenses And Sex Offender Registration Task Force
Comprehensive Legal Services for Victims of Crime
December 13, 2017 | Article | Victimization
Illinois victims and victim service providers indicate that legal services are needed post-victimization, and for many victims in the state this need is left unmet. Meeting a victim’s legal needs is key to ensuring their safety and security and enabling them to continue to recover from their victimization experience. Crime victims can directly benefit from access to comprehensive legal services, including legal advocacy, civil legal services and victim rights enforcement. Numerous legal avenues are open to victims of crime, and legal advocates and attorneys are well-positioned to assist victims as they engage either the criminal justice or civil legal systems. This article explores types of victim legal services, the roles of legal service providers, the needs and potential remedies available to victims by crime type, and barriers to legal service access and delivery. Implications for both providers and funders to ensure comprehensive legal services to victims of crime also are discussed.
By Amanda L. Vasquez
An Overview of Problem-Solving Courts and Implications for Practice
December 11, 2017 | Article | Courts
Problem-solving courts have operated as separate courts or dockets as an alternative to adjudication or incarceration for more than 20 years. These programs offer clients court accountability, intensive supervision, drug testing, and treatment for substance use disorders, mental health conditions, and other issues. Drug, mental health, domestic violence, and veteran’s courts are the most common problem-solving models, with 3,000 in existence around the country. This article provides a state and national overview of problem-solving courts, components shown to reduce recidivism and increase public safety, and implications for policy and practice.
By Erica Hughes And Jessica Reichert
Evaluation of Illinois Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Forces
December 6, 2017 | Research Report | Law Enforcement
Drug trafficking constitutes a major threat to public health and community well-being. Multi-jurisdictional drug task forces, comprised of law enforcement officers in one or more counties that agree to pool resources, were designed to combat drug distribution and trafficking. Researchers evaluated 19 drug task forces in Illinois using quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative methods included analyzing administrative data and state arrest records. Qualitative methods included focus groups with members of 18 task forces and surveys of both staff and policy board directors. The study revealed Illinois drug task forces made proportionately more drug arrests carrying more serious felony and manufacture/delivery charges than their local police counterparts. The study also showed the task forces fostered collaboration with stakeholders, maintained fidelity to critical elements of drug task forces, and garnered support from their policy boards.
By Jessica Reichert, Erin Sheridan, Matthew DeSalvo, And Sharyn Adams
Exploring Effective Post-Opioid Overdose Reversal Responses for Law Enforcement and Other First Responders
November 29, 2017 | Article | Law Enforcement
First responders across the country are carrying and administering naloxone, successfully reversing countless overdose deaths. However, experiencing a revival isn’t always a deterrent for those suffering with opioid use disorder, as many continue to use, experience repeated overdoses, and repeatedly come into contact with local law enforcement. Some police officers are beginning to experience frustration with repeated calls for revival, as well as continued and frequent contacts with and arrests of the same individuals. Communities are learning overdose reversal is just the first step in opioid intervention. With opioid deaths on the rise and fentanyl deaths rapidly increasing, a crisis of this magnitude requires innovative responses at multiple intervention points, including post-overdose, as part of a comprehensive strategy to aid in the treatment of and recovery from opioid use disorders. This article explores law enforcement overdose reversal and post-resuscitation and treatment responses in the newly emerging field of pre-arrest diversion.
By Jessica Reichert And Jac Charlier
Procedural Justice in Policing: How the Process of Justice Impacts Public Attitudes and Law Enforcement Outcomes
November 7, 2017 | Article | Law Enforcement
An increasing number of widely publicized and divisive incidents between police and citizens suggest a need for police policies and practices to improve procedural justice. Procedural justice emphasizes the need for police to demonstrate their legitimacy to the public in four areas—voice, transparency, fairness, and impartiality. This article explains procedural justice and police legitimacy, examines the often racial divide between citizens and police, and offers implications for police policy and practice.
By Emma Peterson, Jessica Reichert, And Kaitlyn Konefal
Victim Need Report: Service Providers’ Perspectives on the Needs of Crime Victims and Service Gaps
November 3, 2017 | Article, Research Report | Victimization
Researchers conducted a statewide study to better understand crime victim needs, identify service gaps, and measure the capacity of Illinois victim service providers. Victim service providers from across Illinois identified the needs of violent crime victims. Providers also highlighted service gaps, or ways in which current service availability was unable to satisfy victim need. Study findings have policy and practice implications for funders, victim service providers, and other service agencies that interact with victims in Illinois.
By Amanda L. Vasquez And Jaclyn Houston-Kolnik
Implementation Science in Criminal Justice: How Implementation of Evidence-based Programs and Practices Affects Outcomes
October 20, 2017 | Article | Evidence-Informed Practices
With increased attention on the criminal justice system’s use of evidence-based practices, focus is needed on the quality of practice implementation and its impact on outcomes. This article defines evidence-based practices, discusses the importance of effective implementation, and outlines the drivers for organizational and operational change.
By Lily Gleicher
Police-Led Referrals to Treatment for Substance Use Disorders in Rural Illinois: An Examination of the Safe Passage Initiative
October 3, 2017 | Article | Law Enforcement
Researchers conducted a process evaluation of Safe Passage, a police deflection model in which police departments become a referral point to treatment for individuals with substance use disorders. Through the model, individuals can walk into any participating police department and request and receive treatment without fear of arrest. In Illinois, Safe Passage has served 170 individuals in rural Lee and Whiteside counties since 2015. Researchers sought to understand how the initiative was developed and operated and gain perspectives of stakeholders, police officers, treatment providers, and clients involved in the program. While more research is needed, the initiative showed promise in its collaborative approach to connecting clients to treatment.
By Jessica Reichert, Lily Gleicher, Lynne Mock, Sharyn Adams, And Kimberly Lopez
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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 cja.irc@illinois.gov.