The National Insti­tute of Jus­tice has awarded grants totaling nearly $1.5 mil­lion to a trio of Col­lege of Crim­inal Jus­tice fac­ulty mem­bers. The money will sup­port inves­ti­ga­tions into three areas of crime: dating vio­lence among Latino youth, the pros­e­cu­tion of human-​​trafficking cases and the impact of incar­cer­a­tion on crime rates.

This research has the poten­tial to create change that can impact the lives of people across the globe and in our own neigh­bor­hoods,” says Jack McDe­vitt, asso­ciate criminal-​​justice dean for grad­uate studies and research, and director of Northeastern’s Insti­tute on Race and Justice.

Carlos Cuevas, assis­tant pro­fessor of crim­inal jus­tice, received a $675,000 grant to lead research on dating vio­lence among Latino youth. Using phone inter­views, the researchers will gather data from 1,500 Latinos between the ages of 12 and 18 as well as their care­givers. The scholars seek to gain more infor­ma­tion about how this pop­u­la­tion deals with dating vio­lence, including whether they seek pro­fes­sional help.

We hope to develop a more culturally-​​based under­standing of dating vio­lence among Latino youth,” says Cuevas.

Amy Far­rell, assis­tant pro­fessor of crim­inal jus­tice and asso­ciate director of the Insti­tute on Race and Jus­tice, received $500,000 to study state and local human-​​trafficking cases.

Since the pas­sage of the Vic­tims of Traf­ficking and Vio­lence Pro­tec­tion Act nine years ago, the number of human-​​trafficking pros­e­cu­tion cases has risen at the fed­eral level but not at state and local levels. Farrell’s research team will con­duct in-​​depth case reviews to dis­cover what imped­i­ments are blocking state and local offi­cials from suc­cess­fully inves­ti­gating and pros­e­cuting human-​​trafficking crimes.

In addi­tion, Far­rell says, “we will hope­fully learn cre­ative strate­gies for over­coming these hur­dles that can improve the chances that human-​​trafficking vic­tims will receive justice.”

Natasha Frost, assis­tant pro­fessor of crim­inal jus­tice, got $298,000 to examine the impact of prison cycling, a term that refers to the incarceration-​​release-​​incarceration cycle that can happen many times in the life of just one con­victed criminal.

Frost’s study will look at 20 years of data from three New Jersey com­mu­ni­ties to deter­mine whether prison cycling causes neigh­bor­hood instability—on an eco­nomic and a social level—leading to increased levels of violence.

This study will pro­duce the largest community-​​level dataset on prison removal and returns ever com­piled,” says Frost. “If our find­ings indi­cate that prison cycling con­tributes to local crime prob­lems, it may be crit­ical to look at alter­na­tive strate­gies, such as com­mu­nity devel­op­ment or non-​​institutional responses to crime, to improve public safety.”

The work of these three researchers will be done in col­lab­o­ra­tion with other scholars. Chiara Sabina, assis­tant pro­fessor of social sci­ences at Penn­syl­vania State Uni­ver­sity, Har­ris­burg, will work with Cuevas. Northeastern’s McDe­vitt and Urban Insti­tute expert William Adams will work with Far­rell. And Todd Clear, Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Crim­inal Jus­tice at John Jay Col­lege of Crim­inal Jus­tice, will work with Frost.