Ph.D., Sociology, University of Chicago
David Kirk is Professor and Research Director in the Department of Sociology and a Professorial Fellow of Nuffield College at the University of Oxford.
He joined Oxford in 2015 to help launch a program called Q-Step designed to promote a step-change in the quantitative training of social scientists in the UK. He previously held faculty positions at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Maryland, after getting his start in research at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC.
Kirk’s interest in criminal justice issues and reform followed on from his brief career in management consulting. Out of college, he worked as a consultant on a project with the State of Texas prison system working to overhaul its information systems. His first week on the job, the prison system executed the first woman in Texas in over 100 years and the first female in the United States in over a decade. Out of this eye opening, formidable experience came a thirst to understand the politics underlying crime control as well as an interest in conducting rigorous, policy-relevant research that could be used to create a more effective and just criminal justice system.
For more than a decade Kirk has been conducting a life course study of the consequences of the forced migration from Hurricane Katrina on the lives of former Louisiana prisoners. Because of the tragic destruction of neighborhoods from Hurricane Katrina, many individuals released from Louisiana prisons soon after Katrina could not return to their home neighborhoods upon exiting prison, thereby setting up a natural experiment for examining the consequences of moving away from former neighborhoods and cities on the likelihood of criminal recidivism. The central hypothesis of this research is that high rates of recidivism in the United States are partly a function of the fact that many released prisoners return home to the same environment with the same criminal opportunities and criminal peers that proved so detrimental to their behavior prior to incarceration. Kirk’s findings from this natural experiment, which can be found in several academic journals (American Sociological Review, Criminology, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) as well as a forthcoming book entitled Home Free: Residential Change and Redemption after Hurricane Katrina (Oxford University Press), reveal substantial reductions in rates of reincarceration among ex-offenders who moved away from their former parishes. This research has been profiled in several media outlets, including a piece by Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
A strong proponent of translational research, Kirk then sought to apply the lessons learned from his Katrina research to design and implement an experimental housing mobility program for ex-prisoners. This led to the development of the MOVE program. Along the way, Kirk has been aided by the work and expertise of an exceptional team of research collaborators.
Ph.D., Criminology, University of Maryland; MPhil, Criminology, University of Cambridge
Geoffrey Barnes is the Director of Criminology of the Western Australia Police as well as an Affiliated Lecturer at the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge.
He has 20 years of experience in performing randomized controlled trials within the criminal justice system, including an extension of the Kansas City Hot Spots Policing Experiment. Barnes was the lead data scientist for the Reintegrative Shaming Experiments (RISE) and principal investigator of the Philadelphia Anti-Violence Experiments. He is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Experimental Criminology.
Ph.D., Criminology, University of Pennsylvania; J.D., Villanova University
Jordan Hyatt is Assistant Professor of Criminology & Justice Studies at Drexel University.
Hyatt has extensive experience in the development and implementation of randomized field trials, having served as the project manager for the Philadelphia Anti-Violence Experiments. Hyatt is currently the principal investigator on several RCTs, including experiments of risk assessment in judicial decision-making, the utility of heroin treatments to parolees, and supervision technologies for high-risk probationers. Hyatt received the 2015 Outstanding Young Experimental Criminologist Award from the American Society of Criminology’s Division of Experimental Criminology.
Ph.D., Criminology, University of Maryland
Brook Kearley is a Clinical Research Manager at the University of Maryland School of Social Work.
Kearley has over 15 years experience managing randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and multi-site evaluations. She currently leads a long-term follow-up of a RCT of Baltimore City’s Drug Treatment Court and is a primary contributor to a RCT testing the effectiveness of a family therapy intervention to reduce gang involvement and crime among gang members. During her recent graduate studies, she was awarded a dissertation fellowship from the National Institute of Justice.
Photo Source: “Tide Point, Baltimore HDR” flickr photo by Sean Naber; https://flickr.com/photos/seannaber/4291957888 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
“Rows and Rows” flickr photo by Andre Mercier; https://flickr.com/photos/andremercier/3572564728 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license