The School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at IUPUI and the IU Public Policy Institute (PPI) are pleased to announce that the Center for Criminal Justice Research is changing its name to the Center for Health and Justice Research (CHJR).
The center conducts rigorous community-engaged research focused on the behavioral health populations and the criminal justice system. Recent projects include a series of studies on opioid risk, naloxone distribution and recipient outcomes, and overdose deaths in Marion County, as well research on mobile crisis assistance teams and pre-trial risk assessment programs to reduce re-incarceration rates and jail populations throughout the state.
“Make no mistake, this change in name does not mean a change in our mission,” said Dr. Brad Ray, CHJR director and SPEA associate professor.
Instead, Ray says the new name will better reflect the center’s work, while ensuring it doesn’t not contribute to the stigmatization of the populations involved in that work.
“Words matter, and the words we use to describe these populations also matter,” Ray said. “We were troubled by the possibility that we may inadvertently contribute to the stigmatization of people with substance use disorder by unnecessarily affiliating them with the criminal justice system. It is our hope that the Center’s new name will help to avoid that.”
The Center for Health and Justice Research operates within PPI, part of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
Tom Guevara, Director of IU’s Public Policy Institute, echoed Ray’s statements.
“As the social and financial costs of incarceration continue to climb to unsustainable levels, especially for non-violent offenders, government needs better information to help it address these challenges before they have to be solved by bigger jails,” Guevara said. “The research produced by the CHJR is helping leaders make better decisions to address our most pressing social problems and reduce the costs of incarceration.”