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Penn Law’s Quattrone Center launches new research on reforming, improving criminal justice system with $2.2 million from Charles Koch Foundation

March 07, 2017

The Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School will expand upon its work producing innovative new research that improves American criminal justice policy with the support of up to $2.2 million over four years from the Charles Koch Foundation.

This gift will enable the Center to produce innovative new research that improves criminal justice policy in jurisdictions across the United States.

The Quattrone Center takes an interdisciplinary, data-driven, scientific approach to identifying and analyzing the most crucial problems in the justice system, and proposing solutions that prevent error and improve fairness. Its research and programs are independent and unbiased, engaging all system stakeholders to effect change for the better.

“With the generous support of the Charles Koch Foundation, the Quattrone Center will expand on its groundbreaking, cross-disciplinary work advancing the study of criminal justice,” said Ted Ruger, Dean of Penn Law and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law. “These efforts will help victims of injustice caught within the criminal justice system.”

The Charles Koch Foundation provides support for a variety of academic and nonprofit initiatives that seek to explore the criminal justice system, including research on access to justice for those of limited means, alternatives to incarceration, and the challenges facing formerly incarcerated individuals. 

The funding for the Quattrone Center will create a research initiative overseen and administered by the Quattrone Center’s academic director, Paul Heaton, an economist who uses quantitative methods to study issues in legal and criminal justice policy.

“Improving the criminal justice system requires the work of scholars from a diverse group of fields, not only law, but also fields such as psychology, sociology, and medicine,” said Heaton. “This new research initiative will allow us to broaden and deepen our study of key areas of criminal justice, while training a new generation of scholars in the field.”

The new initiative will include faculty-led research projects focusing on the causes of crime and effective public policies to address crime. The initiative will also fund visitors to Penn Law to conduct joint research with Penn faculty on crime and criminal justice policy. Visiting scholars will present their own work and collaborate in developing research projects with the Quattrone Center. 

The Quattrone Center’s post-graduate fellowship program, which currently supports four Fellows, will be expanded, and fellows with primarily legal training will gain exposure to data and empirical analysis, while those with social science training will gain deeper expertise in the legal and institutional features of the criminal justice system. 

In addition, the gift will support the Quattrone Center’s effort to bring together prominent thought-leaders among the academic, judicial, and practitioner communities for events and symposia to discuss key issues related to criminal justice policy and practice.