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.
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.
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.
DALLAS COUNTY MISDEMEANOR PROJECT
The Deason Center is researching Dallas County misdemeanor prosecutions. The first phase of this research addresses the arrest and prosecution of persons arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession. The phase one study examined cases in which simple marijuana possession was the most serious charge of arrest and the suspect was not also arrested for violating conditions of a pre-existing court supervision (such as probation, parole, or pretrial supervision).
BURIED ALIVE PROJECT
The Buried Alive Project works to eliminate life without parole sentences handed down under federal drug law through transformative litigation, legislation, and humanization. Life without the possibility of parole is, short of execution, the harshest imaginable punishment permitted by law in America.