Kurlychek Named BJS Visiting Fellow

Associate Professor Megan Kurlychek will spend the spring 2014 semester as a Visiting Fellow with the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The Bureau of Justice Statistics Visiting Fellows program is a sponsored research award open to senior-level social science researchers whose work has been extensively published in the field. This award allows the fellow to have office space within the BJS offices and access to the agency’s datasets and software for research purposes. Fellows may remain on-site at BJS for the duration of their project or make occasional visits as needed to conduct their research. At the end of the experience the researcher provides a report summarizing the study results and direct policy implications of their work.

Examples of activities of recent fellows include:

  • briefing the Attorney General on latest trends in youth violence
  • designing a BJS survey on police use of force
  • exploring new methods for visualizing BJS data
  • comparing crime rates between the U.S. and England
  • examining the methodological history of the NCVS

Dr. Kurlychek’s award is specifically to study the long-term outcomes for youth (16 and 17 years of age)  processed as adults in New York’s criminal justice system during three time periods (1987, 1993 and 2001) and followed through to 2012. The research will directly build upon Dr. Kurlychek’s prior research on the immediate sentencing outcomes of these youth for which she received a grant from the National Science Foundation and has published numerous articles. Specifically, the Adult Trajectories of Juvenile Offenders data set compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) allows the opportunity to conduct ground-breaking research in this area to address the following research questions:

  1. What is the overall pattern of criminal court sentencing of 16- and 17-year-old offenders and what are the key sources of heterogeneity in sentence severity?
  2. What are the short and long-term criminal trajectories of youth receiving substantial adult court interventions and how do these trajectories differ based on characteristics of the offender, the offending history, and the severity of system intervention experienced as a youth?
  3. How do patterns of desistence and the identification of the type of individual that desists from crime differ across analytical models?  This is a statistical rather than substantive question, but as existing literature reveals different modeling strategies can provide diverse pictures of recidivism and desistance (Bushway, Sweeten and Nieuwbeerta, 2009; Kurlychek, Bushway and Brame, 2012), it is one that becomes of substantive importance in understanding the criminal careers and desistance from crime for this population.
  4. What, if any, differences exist across cohorts in initial sentence severity and long-term offending trajectories due to the political context of the time period?
  5. How does the landscape of youthful offending differ based upon the specification of state-specific or national models?