CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY PRACTICUM

Criminal Justice Policy Practicum student raising hand

CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY PRACTICUM

The Criminal Justice Policy Practicum (“CJPP”) provides students at the SMU Dedman School of Law with a unique experiential learning opportunity in criminal justice research and policy. Each semester, students work with a Deason Center data set to practice interdisciplinary policy research. Students design, investigate, and publish a data-driven report derived from the Deason Center data set.

For the Spring of 2020, the CJPP project studied attorney versus lay judges, gun arrests, and suicides in jail. Combining publicly available data with the Deason Center data set, students designed data-driven research studies, uncovered new insights into how the criminal justice system operates, and wrote reports on their findings. Two of the three papers were selected by the Vera Institute of Justice for presentation at their symposium on incarceration.

For the Spring of 2019, the CJPP project studied misdemeanor justice in Dallas County Courts.  Working with a data set of nearly 200,000 Dallas County misdemeanor cases, students learned to clean data sets, design research inquiries, code data, and report on the results of data assessments. By the end of the semester, the students designed empirical misdemeanor research inquiries and produced a public report describing the results of their data-driven inquiry.