Research

RESEARCH

RESEARCH. The Deason Center conducts, supports, and disseminates data-driven criminal justice research that has practical implications for criminal justice reform. The Deason Center publishes and promotes criminal justice reform scholarship in academic journals and public policy fora. The Center prioritizes research designs and scholarly projects that have utility across multiple jurisdictions.  The Center also supports and encourages the criminal justice scholarship of SMU Law faculty.

SMU Dedman School of Law

FEDERAL DEFENDER DATA PROJECT

The Deason Center has been retained to identify and promote data-driven best practices for the delivery of federal public defender services. Through a data-focused assessment of the work public defenders do, the Deason Center is exploring factors that shape client outcomes.

By aggregating this data across a number of jurisdictions, the Deason Center will identify which attorney practices that are most closely associated with improved case outcomes.

Court room

PROSECUTORIAL CHARGING PRACTICES PROJECT

Local prosecutors drive our nation’s criminal justice system. Prosecutors decide whether to charge a person with a crime and decide what charges to file.  The Deason Center’s Prosecutorial Charging Practices Project offers a unique window into these critical prosecutorial charging decisions.

Map of 2017 Marijuana Arrest in Dallas County

DALLAS COUNTY MISDEMEANOR PROJECT

The Deason Center is researching Dallas County misdemeanor prosecutions. This research explores misdemeanor marijuana possession prosecutions in Dallas County. The research also considers racial disparities in the prosecution of misdemeanants charged with low level drug crimes.

BURIED ALIVE PROJECT

Founded by SMU Law alumna, Brittany Barnett, and incubated at the Deason Center, the Buried Alive Project seeks to eliminate life without parole sentences for non-violent federal drug offenders. Though clemency petitions and federal post-conviction litigation, the Buried Alive Project has rescued dozens of people who might otherwise have died behind bars.