Criminal Justice

Capturing Human Trafficking Victimization through Crime Reporting

Amy Farrell, Meredith Dank, Jack McDevitt, Katherine Bright, Rebecca Pfeffer

Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, this project will provide critical information to improve law enforcement identification and reporting of human trafficking. Additionally, the study will help contextualize human trafficking reporting processes to help practitioners and the public interpret human trafficking data reported in the UCR program.  Northeastern University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice will utilize a multi-method research study that includes:

Child Trafficking Data Collection and Improvement Project

Amy Farrell, Daniel Dombak, Elizabeth Bouchard, Ikeke de Vries, Kelly Goggin, Susan Goldfarb, Lisa Goldblatt Grace, Lori Ann Bertram

In 2014, the Justice Resource Institute, in partnership with the Department of Children and Families and the Support to End Exploitation Now (SEEN) program of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County, was awarded a 5-year grant from the Administration for Children Youth and Families to increase the capacity of the child welfare system to respond to child trafficking. The overall goal of the Massachusetts Child Welfare Trafficking Grant (CWTG) is, through infrastructure development, data gathering, awareness-raising and cross-system collaboration and outreach, to develop within the state’s child welfare system sustainable methods for preventing minor trafficking, identifying trafficking victims and connecting them to support and services. Over the past two and a half years, the leadership team in partnership with a statewide advisory board has begun to achieve significant project goals including: 1) Fostering strategic coordination and institutionalized collaboration among agencies throughout the Commonwealth impacting the response to child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation; 2) Developing infrastructure through regional child trafficking multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) in each county (to date teams have been launched in Suffolk, Bristol, Hampden, the counties of the Cape and the Islands, Middlesex, Essex, and Worcester counties); 3) Strengthening the capacity of DCF and its nonprofit and government partners to effectively address minor trafficking through local training and technical assistance; and 4) the integration of child trafficking into key DCF policies including Intake and Investigation, Assessment, and the Children Missing From Care (Runaway Initiative).

The Rhode Island Highway Safety Traffic Stop Data Collection Analysis and Reporting Project
Jack McDevitt, Amy Farrell, Lisa Laguerre, Janice Iwana 

Funded by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, this project examine all traffic stops from all law enforcement agencies in Rhode Island and will work with the R I division of Highway Safety and Ledge Light Technologies to determine if racial or ethnic disparities exist in the traffic enforcement practices. IRJ researchers will also work with law enforcement agencies to help institutionalize these types of analyses into the normal practices of each agency.  This project was funded by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety.

Understanding the Organization and Victimization of Labor Trafficking in the United States
Amy Farrell, Jack McDevitt, Rebecca Pfeffer

The Institute on Race and Justice (IRJ) has subcontracted with Urban Institute (UI) on a project funded by the Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice (NIJ) that is designed to study forced and exploitative labor and how labor traffickers victimize workers.  Partnering with the Freedom Network, a coalition of non-governmental organizations providing services to trafficking victims across the country, UI and IRJ are conducting an in-depth case studies in four sites in different parts of the country to analyze the stages and components of labor trafficking.

Understanding Trends in Hate Crimes against Immigrants and Hispanic Americans
Jack McDevitt, Chad Posnick, Janice Iwana

This project is funded by the National Institute of Justice and being conducted in partnership with Abt Associates.  The project seeks to identify if hate crimes against Hispanics and Immigrants have increased during this time of increasing anti-immigrant rhetoric.  The project

will focus on five states (Arizona, California, Michigan, New Jersey and Texas) and will analyze the issue using both quantitative and qualitative approaches.

The National Police Research Platform Project 
Jack McDevitt, Chad Posnick  

The National Police Research Platform is a long-term project designed to collect systematic data about individual police officers, supervisors, and organizations over time and to establish benchmarks for excellence in American policing. The Platform is expected to advance scientific knowledge and lead to improvements in police organizations that will directly benefit law enforcement personnel and the communities they serve.

The Massachusetts Train the Trainer Curriculum on Biased Based Policing and Policing in a Diverse Society
Jack McDevitt, Lisa Laguerre, Chad Posnick 

The Institute on Race and Justice developed a curriculum for the Municipal Police Institute to deliver to officers who are interested in becoming a trainer on: “Biased Based Policing and Policing in a Diverse Society”.  This is a train the trainer curriculum which seeks to develop an array of local trainers across Massachusetts law enforcement agencies who can conduct biased based policing training for officers in their own department and in nearby agencies.

The Contextual Significance of Federal Courtroom Workgroup, Racial Diversity to Criminal Case Outcomes.
Geoff Ward, Amy Farrell

Led by co-principal investigators Dr. Geoff Ward (Asst. Professor, Criminal Justice) and Dr. Amy Farrell (Assoc. Director, IRJ) and funded by the W.E.B. DuBois Fellowship of the National Institute of Justice, this project examines the impact of federal court workgroup racial diversity to criminal case outcomes.

Charles Shannon Jr, Community Safety Initiative Projects
Jack McDevitt, Amy Farrell

Northeastern will serve as Massachusetts’ Statewide Youth Violence Research Partner. Experts from the university’s College of Criminal Justice and Institute on Race and Justice will help local officials determine which crimes are gang-related, develop databases of gang members, and verify the scope of violence attributable to offenders from outside jurisdictions.

In addition, Northeastern researchers will work closely with the cities of Boston and New Bedford in supporting their respective anti-gang initiatives. These efforts follow dramatic increases in gang violence in both communities. The initiative that provided these anti-gang grants is named after the late state Senator Charles “Charlie” Shannon. Mr. Shannon, a Northeastern graduate, served for two decades as a Lexington police officer, before being elected to office.

Law Enforcement Survey on Human Trafficking
Amy Farrell

In recent years human trafficking has become an important human rights and law enforcement issue facing many of our local communities. The U.S. Department of Justice has contracted with Northeastern University to conduct a study that examines law enforcement responses to the crime of human trafficking.

The online version of Questionnaire One can be found here.
The online version of Questionnaire Two can be found here.

Your assistance in completing the enclosed surveys is critical to understanding both the prevalence of human trafficking problems and to identifying successful models for recognizing, reporting and intervening in situations of human trafficking. If you have any questions filling out the survey please contact

Law Enforcement Responses to Human Trafficking – National Institute of Justice
Amy Farrell, Jack McDevitt

In October, 2005 The Institute on Race and Justice was awarded a grant from the National Institute of Justice to provide a comprehensive assessment of the current state of law enforcement responses to human trafficking. Trafficking in persons has become a critical human rights and law enforcement issue in the 21st century. As one of the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprises, local law enforcement officials must help prevent international and domestic trafficking. Building on previous research around police recognition and reprioritization of new types of crimes (e.g., domestic violence, stalking, bias-motivated crime), this project seeks to understand how police identify, report and investigate trafficking incidents. This project will provide information to law enforcement agencies, investigators, prosecutors and service providers about the quantity and quality of current law enforcement responses to trafficking and identify successful models for recognizing, reporting and intervening in situations of human trafficking.

Boston Police Department Integrity Project
Jack McDevitt, Amy Farrell, Carsten Andresen

With funding from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services the Boston Police Department (BPD) is working with the Institute on Race and Justice (IRJ) to enhance integrity in a number of different components of the department’s operation. The project seeks to improve the efforts of the BPD to serve the citizens of Boston by reviewing practices in four main areas: the citizen complaint process, citizen appeals board, early intervention system, and patrol allocation in large scale public events. The IRJ staff in conjunction with the Division of Professional Development will identify the current BPD practices in each of these areas by reviewing policies and procedures, conducting interviews with officers and staff from the BPD as well as Boston residents about the citizen complaint reporting process. In addition, IRJ staff in conjunction with BPD will conduct site visits to other municipal departments to evaluate their citizen complaint review processes. Finally, IRJ will document how the BPD implements changes in each of the above mentioned areas.

The Boston Foundation Community Safety Evaluation
January 15, 2005 – June 30, 2005
Jack McDevitt, Lisa Bailey, Amy Farrell, Josh Brownstein

In its continuing efforts to support community safety, The Boston Foundation’s Community Safety Initiative awarded $1.5 million over a three-year period (March 2002 – March 2005) to twenty five projects that provide a range of activities to address public safety city of Boston. As the Initiative evolves, the Boston Foundation has reached out to IRJ to conduct an evaluation of the Initiatives programs to determine to what extent the Initiative’s efforts contribute to improving community safety. As part of the evaluation, IRJ staff will produce a case study of each Community Safety Initiative Grant, which identifies the initial project goals, summarizes the project activities, identifies challenges encountered and describes accomplishments for each of the twenty-five Community Safety Initiative projects. The evaluation will also examine existing systems of communication among Initiative grantees and offer recommendations for strengthening consistent resource and information sharing. Similarly, evaluators will create and conduct an asset mapping analysis of targeted neighborhoods to identify existing programs and services being offered in the area. Finally, this process evaluation will provide “best practices” models that could be used to help the Foundation evaluate the success of the grant program and assess future grant applications.

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Jack McDevitt, Mary Yee

Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) is a nationwide initiative led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to combat gun crime. It is a collaboration between federal, state and local agencies working together to implement strategies towards gun crime reduction. For the past two years, IRJ staff and researchers from Northeastern’s College of Criminal Justice and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government have collaborated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a research partner to support efforts by local law enforcement agencies in addressing gun crime. Working with these agencies, IRJ and the research team are assisting in identifying gun crime issues and their possible causes. Depending on the scope of each agency’s specific needs and requirements, participating agencies are provided with customized assistance on data gathering and analysis. Data driven efforts include the use of detailed gang member databases, street-level data and crime mapping. In addition, data collected on gun crimes from participating agencies are summarized into reports that provide detailed overviews for agency planners. Through this collaborative project, IRJ and the research team seek to assist local agencies in gaining a greater understanding of their local gun crimes, so that strategies to confront gun crimes are informed and developed through sound analysis.

Racial Profiling Data Collection Resource Center
Amy Farrell, Mary Yee, Matt White, Alexandra Gallant

website, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, designed to be a central clearinghouse for police agencies, legislators, community leaders, social scientists, legal researchers, and journalists to access information about current data collection efforts, legislation and model policies, police-community initiatives, and methodological tools that can be used to collect and analyze data.


Massachusetts Statewide Racial and Gender Profiling Study
Amy Farrell, Jack McDevitt, Lisa Bailey, Erica Pierce, Carsten Andresen

In 2001 the Institute on Race and Justice was chosen to conduct the State of Massachusetts study of racial profiling for the Executive Office of Public Safety, pursuant to state legislation. The study includes comprehensive analysis of racial disparities in traffic citations and written warnings for 350 different communities in the commonwealth.

In the second phase of the Massachusetts Traffic Stop study IRJ is working with the Executive Office of Public Safety to provide technical assistance to the efforts to begin collecting data on all traffic stops.


Related Publications:

Rhode Island Traffic Stop Statistics Study
January 01, 2001 – June 30, 2003
Amy Farrell, Jack McDevitt, Shea Cronin, Erica Pierce

As part of an ongoing project with the Attorney General of Rhode Island, IRJ staff members continue to conduct analysis of traffic stop data from all state and local law enforcement agencies in Rhode Island. The data collection period ran between January 2001 and December 2002, during which time the Institute released quarterly reports analyzing the data. The Institute completed and released the final report in June 2003.


Related Publications:

Providence Police Department Racial Profiling Data Auditing
Amy Farrell, Mary Yee, Jack McDevitt

Stemming from a lawsuit against Providence Police Department from the ACLU and the Rhode Island State Attorney’s office, IRJ was chosen by a Rhode Island Superior Court to perform an audit of Providence’s traffic stop data from January 2001-September 2003. The audit includes matching traffic stop records with existing Providence Police Department computer aided dispatch records, official department citation records and in-car video observations.


Related Publications:

Reconstructing the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Charting Intervention Strategies of Prevention and Support for Minority Children
May 16, 2003 – May 17, 2003

The Institute on Race and Justice, in collaboration with The Civil Rights Project (CRP) at Harvard University, sponsored a conference on the School-to-Prison Pipeline. The goals of the conference were to commission research that will explore how school policies and practices may be affecting the flow of certain students into the criminal justice system and to better understand how educational institutions can work in concert with community and public agencies to implement programs of intervention and prevention.


Related Publications:

A Content Analysis of the Hip Hop Communities
Robin Chandler, College of Arts & Sciences, Department of African American Studies

Project funded by IRJ’s 2002-2003 Fellowship Program that focuses on collective action and activism in the Hip Hop community and its response to public media controversies.