Speakers Series

Title: The Maravillas: Gangs, Aging, and Mattering in East Los Angeles

Speaker: Dr. Randol Contreras (UC Riverside)

Date: January 26, 2024
Time: 1:00 pm MST

This is a virtual event.
Abstract: Most gang research focuses on young gang members who use violence and style to attain meaning in the world. Researchers, though, have paid little attention to the plight of aging gang members, who increasingly feel irrelevant and forgotten. Thus, this paper will discuss how old-timer Mexican gang members in East Los Angeles try to matter in relationship to both young gang members and what they consider their territorial space. Their attempts often lead to clashes between themselves and youngsters, and to political stances against newcomers, such as immigrants, in their community.

Title: Policing by/for/of Indigenous communities: the state of the art

Speaker: Dr. Beatrice Jauregui (University of Toronto)

Date: February 23, 2024
Time: 1:00 pm MST

This is a virtual event.
Abstract: Critical research on policing of Indigenous communities across Turtle Island/North America has highlighted how state law enforcement bodies at various levels contribute to discriminatory treatment and disproportionate representation of community members in the criminal justice system. Less well-understood are the histories and sociocultural practices of self-administered police organizations within some of these communities. These organizations may be at once a greatly desired support systems and harbingers of sovereignty and self-governance, but also a source of local controversy and political conflict. Drawing on fieldwork with police in Kahnawà:ke and Ahkwesáhsne, and ongoing engagements with advocacy groups like the First Nations Chiefs of Police Association (FNCPA), this talk examines some of the tensions inhering in Indigenous policing, and aims to shed light on the stakes of further developing and supporting these and other self-administered institutions of criminal justice in Indigenous communities.

Title: School Violence in America: A Statewide Study on Sources, Consequences, and Policy Responses

Speaker: Dr. Jillian Turanovic (University of Colorado Boulder)

Date: March 28, 2024
Time: 11:00 a.m. - Noon, followed by lunch Noon - 1:00 p.m. MDT
Tory 1-62

This is a hybrid event
Abstract: School violence has become a defining feature of life in America. Despite increased research and discourse, it remains unclear how to best prevent school violence and mitigate its impacts. In this talk, I will showcase preliminary findings from a large mixed-methods research project, funded by the National Institute of Justice, that seeks to better understand the sources, consequences, and policy responses to violence in American schools. Drawing from over a decade’s worth of data on arrestees, schools, and neighborhoods in Florida, and qualitative interviews with school staff, school resource officers, juvenile justice personnel, and policymakers throughout the state, this study seeks to shed light on: (1) the extent to which the sources of school violence are unique from community violence, (2) the differential impacts of violence on school learning environments, and (3) the effectiveness of policies that have been implemented to address violence in Florida schools.

Title: Assessing Two Strategies for Ameliorating Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Cumulative Case Outcomes

Speaker: Dr. Ojmarrh Mitchell (University of California Irvine)

Date: May 24, 2024
Time: Noon - 1:00 pm MST

Bio: Ojmarrh Mitchell is a professor in the Criminology, Law and Society department at the University of California Irvine. Professor Mitchell earned his Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland with a doctoral minor in Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation. His research interests center on criminal justice policy, particularly in the areas of drug control, sentencing and corrections, and racial fairness in the criminal justice system. Most recently, Dr. Mitchell has been investigating prosecutorial discretion and its influence on case processing, case outcomes, and racial disparities. For his research on racial and ethnic issues in the criminal justice system, he received the Western Society of Criminology’s W.E.B. Du Bois and NIJ’s W.E.B. Du Bois awards. Dr. Mitchell has served in numerous advisory roles, including the U.S. Department of Justice’s Science Advisory Board, New York City’s Pretrial Research Advisory Council, Philadelphia’s Pretrial Reform Advisory Council, and the American Society of Criminology’s Executive Board.
Abstract: Racial and ethnic disparities in sentencing outcomes long have been documented by empirical research. Prevailing solutions to these inequities typically have aimed at reducing the discretionary powers of court actors as means of promoting increased fairness in court case outcomes. Yet, discretion reduction has had  limited long-term success in ameliorating inequities in criminal courts. In this research, we assess the effectiveness of two strategies touted as potential solutions to racial/ethnic inequities in court outcomes; namely, 1) employing racially diverse court workgroups, and 2) electing “progressive” chief prosecutors. Further, unlike the vast majority of existing research that examines only sentencing outcomes—which are likely a biased subsample of all cases—we examine all case outcomes from arrest to disposition. We find that one of the two strategies is highly effective in reducing disparities but the other has no discernible effect on case outcomes.