New Group at Florida State Seeks to Research and Reform Criminal Justice System

Nov 27 • 592 Views • View Comments

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CONTACT: Lindsay Potvin
(850) 222-3767

New Group at Florida State Seeks to Research and Reform Criminal Justice System
The newly created Project on Accountable Justice will work to advance public safety through evidence-based practices and policies

Tallahassee, Fla. – In Florida, and across the nation, the criminal justice reform movement has a crucial need for accountability and measurable results across all areas of the justice system. Integrating evidence-based practices and performance measures into our deeply-rooted criminal justice system has remained an unresolved challenge – until now. The newly created Project on Accountable Justice (PAJ) is an independent, non-partisan organization with a mission to provide meaningful, public-interest research and education that will help to guide reforms that enlist evidence-based approaches to criminal justice in Florida.

Comprised of public policy academics from distinguished research institutions, PAJ is working to facilitate innovative research that provides options for reform throughout Florida, and the nation, that turns the tide on expensive prisons with high recidivism rates.

“PAJ is dedicated to curbing our current trajectory of expensive, outdated practices of mass incarceration and refocusing our justice system on ending victimization, turning lives around, rebuilding families and saving taxpayer dollars – all in an effort to enhance public safety,” says Deborrah Brodsky, PAJ’s director. “We have a tremendous opportunity to turn poor outcomes and difficult policies into stronger public interest models that can be used in Florida, and throughout the country.”

Through meaningful, independent, public-interest research, PAJ is committed to providing a neutral voice that can drive rational justice reform here in Florida and beyond. The framework for research focuses on the three transitional points of the justice system:

o Narrowing the pipeline of inputs into the system via early interventions, especially through reengineering juvenile justice and pretrial services;
o Refining rehabilitative approaches within the system by researching, demanding and expanding evidence-based decision making for programming;
o Limiting the high rates of return to the system by respecting past victims and avoiding future victims, reducing recidivism, highlighting barriers to re-entry, enhancing community and family supports and opportunities for employment.

“Our criminal justice system is on the cusp of a wave of accountability, and Florida is uniquely positioned to generate data driven solutions that can work across the country,” said Allison DeFoor, PAJ Chairman. “Our goal is to provide the data that will inform and drive these solutions leading to less crime for less money.”

PAJ is housed at the Florida State University John Scott Dailey Florida Institute of Government. Initial collaborators, along with Florida State University, are the Program on Prosocial Behavior at Baylor University, the Institute of Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College and the Florida Public Safety Institute at Tallahassee Community College. The PAJ anticipates additional partners joining this coalition of willing institutions.

PAJ Board members include: FSU President Emeritus Sandy D’Alemberte; former Florida Attorney General Richard Doran; Former FAMU President, Professor, and Current Interim Dean of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Fred Gainous; St. Petersburg College President Bill Law; Jeff Kronschnabl, Instructor in Charge of St. Petersburg College’s Public Policy and Administration Baccalaureate Program; Dean of the FSU College of Social Sciences & Public Policy David Rasmussen; Tallahassee Community College President Jim Murdaugh; Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion Director Byron Johnson; Stephen Perrone; and PAJ Board Chairman Allison DeFoor.

Learn more about the Project on Accountable Justice online at


The Project on Accountable Justice (PAJ) is an independent, non-partisan organization with a mission to advance public safety through evidence based policies and practices in Florida and beyond. The PAJ is housed at Florida State University under the John Scott Dailey Florida Institute of Government. PAJ is a collaborative public policy research laboratory determined to find answers through data and across a spectrum of academic disciplines for practical application in juvenile and criminal justice policy deliberations.


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