CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

NYU Center for Research in Crime and Justice

I've attended some of their events; this center is really cool, an outstanding model of integrating law students into serious research projects, and of exposing faculty to experts in other disciplines and to practitioners.  Here's what they have to say about themselves. [Jack Chin]



The goal of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice is to stimulate and promote criminal justice research at New York University School of Law and to make the school a regional and national focal point for the study, discussion, and debate of criminal justice policy. Professor James B. Jacobs founded the center in 1993. In 1996, Jerome Skolnick joined him as co-director.

Jacobs and Skolnick are particularly interested in creating opportunities for students to engage with faculty in collaborative research projects. The Center’s research is currently focused on two areas:

A project to study the legal assault on organized crime, headed by Jacobs, seeks to document and analyze the dismantling of traditional Italian-American organized crime in the late 20th century. Many students have been and are involved as research assistants and sometimes as co-authors in this work. Jacobs is currently conducting a study of organized crime and organized labor, two 20th-century institutions that have profoundly affected one another over many decades. The resulting book will document and evaluate the government’s remarkable effort, since the early 1980s, to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act – one of the most ambitious government-sponsored, court-supervised efforts at organizational reform in U.S. History – to reform local, regional, and national unions under court-monitored trusteeships. Some of Jacobs’ recent student co-authors include: Lauryn Gouldin (’00), “Cosa Nostra: the Final Chapter?” Crime and Justice (1999); David Santore (’00), “The Liberation of Local 560,” Criminal Law Bulletin (March-April 2001); and Kristin Stohner (’03), “Ten Years of Court-Supervised Reform: A Chronicle & Assessment”, California Criminal Law Review (Spring 2004).

A project on police accountability and police integrity, led by Skolnick, has produced articles on racial profiling, the blue code of silence, and coercive interrogation. Skolnick’s articles “Guns, Drugs, and Profiling” was co-authored with law student Abigail Phillips Caplovitz (’01). He is currently working with graduate student Christine Scott-Hayward on an assessment of the organizational changes that have occurred in the New York City Police Department since September 11, 2001.

To enhance interest in criminal justice research, policy development, and community building, the Center hosts numerous events, most notably the monthly multidisciplinary Hoffinger Colloquium on Criminal Justice and a weekly criminal law group lunch series to inform faculty, visiting scholars, and selected students about issues and developments in criminal justice.


Throughout the year the Center sponsors small seminars and workshops, frequently to hear from American and foreign criminal justice scholars who are in New York City for a short time. On occasion, the Center provides a home and an opportunity for foreign scholars to spend a few weeks in NYC. Professor Dirk Van Zyl Smit, Dean of the University of Capetown (South Africa) Law School visited the Law School this year on this basis, as did University of Frankfurt criminologist Henner Hess during academic year 97-98. Boalt Hall’s Professor Franklin Zimring spent his spring 1996 sabbatical at the Center. In the spring of 1997, Professor Cyrille Fijnaut (University of Leuven, Belgium), the leading scholar of European policing, was in residence and teaching with Professor Skolnick.

Other key figures in the center include: Professor David Garland, a world class criminologist and social theorist who joined the NYU Law Faculty and Sociology Department in 1997. He is the founding editor of the new interdisciplinary journal Punishment & Society.

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