Project Title: Organized Crime and Environmental Crime: Exploring the Consequences and Harms of Illicit Sand Mining

Affiliated Faculty: Aunshul Rege

Description: India’s Sand Mafia, which illegally mines sand for construction, generates approximately USD 17 million per month in revenues. Despite the devastating environmental, physical, and economical harms caused, there is a dearth of criminological research on this organized crime group. This research uses a tripartite model of organized crime to explore the Sand Mafia’s modus operandi, modus vivendi, and modus coordināti. This group operates as numerous, fragmented structures with transient memberships, and uses violence, political affiliation, and regenerative properties to ensure continued operation. Other factors, such as inadequate manpower, poor enforcement, rapid economic development, and limited acceptance of alternatives to sand, collectively compound the problem of illicit sand mining. It also offers a comparative analysis of India’s Sand Mafia and Italy’s EcoMafia, with a focus on the organizational mechanisms, operational practices, threat management, and supporting cultural, regulatory, and policing factors is conducted. Finally, this research examines the various harms generated by India’s illicit sand mining sector.

Project Title: Juvenile Justice-Translational Research on Interventions for Adolescents in the Legal System (JJ-TRIALS)

Funding Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health

Affiliated Faculty: Steven Belenko (PI), Wayne Welsh, Jennifer Wood, and Matthew Hiller

Description: This five-year multisite project tests implementation interventions to identify and reduce gaps in substance abuse services for adolescents under community juvenile justice supervision. The project involves a cluster randomized trial in 34 sites in 7 states. We are testing the impact of various interventions involving needs assessments, data-driven decision making, behavioral health training, and facilitated local change teams on organizational, staff, and youth outcomes.

Project Title: SMART Supervision: CRIMNEEDS Evaluation

Funding Agency: Bureau of Justice Assistance, US Department of Justice

Affiliated Faculty: Steven Belenko (PI) and Matthew Hiller

Description: The goal of this project is to enhance the efforts of the Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department to address the unmet needs of moderate to high-risk offenders by fully implementing the Risk-Needs-Responsivity model. Moderate and high-risk officers are being trained in case management techniques and supervision planning, a customized criminogenic needs assessment tool is being developed, and a computerized decision-making tool is being developed to identify the best services in Philadelphia to address the criminogenic needs of probationers.  Temple is conducting a randomized controlled trial to test the impact of these new tools on probationer outcomes and service engagement.

Project Title: Philadelphia Revived: Obtaining Success through Peer Encouraged Recovery (PROSPER)

Funding Agency: Laura and John Arnold Foundation

Affiliated Faculty: Steven Belenko

Description: The goal of the PROSPER project, a collaboration between Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) and Temple University’s Department of Criminal Justice, is to examine the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of integrating Peer Recovery Specialists (PRSs) in an adult drug treatment court.  A growing body of research demonstrates that peer support can facilitate recovery and reduces health care costs, but to date the model has not been tested in criminal justice settings. This study will be the first in the U.S. to assess whether PRSs, working with the Philadelphia Treatment Court (PTC) staff and treatment providers, can help to promote retention, engagement, and ongoing recovery post-graduation. During the first project phase, focus groups and interviews will be conducted with key informants to provide insight into how PRSs can best support PTC clients.  During the second project phase, 112 newly enrolled PTC clients will be recruited and randomly assigned to either be connected with a PRS or to receive treatment-as-usual (56 per each condition), and monitored for 9 months. Key indicators such as relapse, re-arrest, and drug court completion will help determine whether clients assigned a PRS have greater program success than those in the control condition. This study will answer important questions regarding how to successfully integrate peer staff into drug courts, and provide preliminary indications of the efficacy of adding PRSs to the treatment court process.

Project Title: CRIME-PA: Crime Model Evaluation for Physical Activity

Funding Agency: National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute (NIH)

Affiliated Faculty: Caterina Roman and Ralph Taylor (subcontractors to UCSD)

Description: The study evaluates a trans-disciplinary conceptual model of the relation of crime and crime-related perceptions to physical activity and other cardiovascular disease-related outcomes across the life span. Research activities include development of reliable measures of crime-related constructs that will be applicable across the life span.