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Sociology, Anthropology & Criminal Justice

Center for Criminal Justice and Social Research

Center for Justice and Social Research

The Center for Criminal Justice and Social Research enables Clemson University faculty members to provide a variety of services to community partners, including technical assistance on grant writing, independent evaluation of community-based projects, and research on the outcomes and impact of community initiatives. The center serves the land-grant mission of the University and facilitates research-practitioner partnerships by helping local governmental, criminal justice, and non-profit organizations pursue funding for social research and evaluation.

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  • Mission & Vision

    Our Mission

    The Center for Criminal Justice and Social Research (CJSR) provides resources to advance social research, train future social scientists, and develop collaborative partnerships with governmental, criminal justice, and non-profit organizations to strengthen communities. 

    Our Vision  

    CJSR envisions advancing knowledge to address underlying social issues affecting people and communities to promote a more just and equitable society.

  • Services

    The center offers services and engages in social research to promote and ensure evidence-based methods and practices are available to community organizations that might overwise not be able to access these funds.

    Offered Services:

    • Grant proposal development and technical assistance
    • Technical assistance and subject matter expertise
    • Gap analysis and needs assessment
    • Community engagement with stakeholders
    • Program evaluation design for process, outcome and impact evaluations
    • Survey design
    • Access to a survey pool
    • Focus groups
    • In-depth interviewing
    • Ethnography
    • Data collection, management and analysis
    • Performance measure tracking and reporting
    • Technical reports
    • Training for undergraduate and graduate students
    • Transcription
  • Our Team


    Dr. Bryan Lee MillerBryan Lee MillerDirector

    Dr. Miller has evaluated drug abuse, probation practices, offender reentry, and drug treatment programs. He has worked on projects funded by the U.S. Department of Justice to reduce the number of individuals with mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders in jail, evaluate veteran treatment courts, design law enforcement-led initiatives to respond to individuals with mental illnesses, and support justice-led programs to implement evidence-based practices to reduce substance abuse. He has authored numerous successful federal service delivery grants from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance for substance abuse treatment, specialty court enhancement, and justice and mental health collaboration programs. He has formed research practitioner partnerships with governmental agencies including county governments, law enforcement, jails and courts. Agencies served include the Clemson University Police Department, Oconee County, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, Screven County Sheriff’s Office and the 29th Judicial Circuit of Missouri.

    Dr. Catherine MobleyCatherine Mobley, Associate Director

    Dr. Mobley has engaged in extensive community-based research and evaluation for diverse clients, including the United Way of Pickens County, the Upstate Housing Coalition, the United Way of Greenville County, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, and the Saluda Reedy Watershed Coalition. Dr. Mobley is currently involved in three active NSF projects. She is also Co-PI with Leslie Hossfeld on a community-based grant from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina Foundation investigating food security in seven rural South Carolina counties. Through her interdisciplinary research on engineering/STEM education, Dr. Mobley has investigated the experiences of first-generation students, transfer students, Black students, student veterans, and women in engineering. She will be applying this knowledge to initiate a new project on social science students. This experience can be leveraged to assist community-based agencies engaged in STEM education in diverse disciplines. Dr. Mobley has also taught a graduate-level evaluation course for 11 years through which she and her students have designed process and outcome evaluations for diverse community-based clients, including Pickens County Meals on Wheels, Littlejohn Community Center, Safe Harbor, Clemson Community Care, the Parenting Place, and United Way of Pickens County.

    Nasaskyia HicksNasaskyia Hicks, Research Project Manager

    Dr. Hicks is a Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Project Manager at the Center for Criminal Justice and Social Research, leading interdisciplinary social research projects. Her research experience broadly focuses on academic and behavioral interventions for at-risk students. She specializes in educational program design and evaluation and has authored grants for prevention strategies in K12 schools. Dr. Hicks currently works on several projects funded by the SC Department of Education and the US Bureau of Justice Assistance.

    Faculty Advisory Board

    Katherine WeisenseeKatherine Weisensee, Chair and Associate Professor

    Dr. Weisensee’s research program focuses on innovative methods applied to health research along two distinct avenues. The first is research currently funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) of the National Institutes of Health, “Craniofacial Dysmorphology Associated with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome using Three-Dimensional Morphometrics” Small Research Grants for Establishing Basic Science-Clinical Collaborations to Understand Structural Birth Defects.” This research is in collaboration with Curtis Rogers, M.D., at the Greenwood Genetics Center. The project uses 3d photogrammetric methods for analyzing craniofacial features to determine the dysmorphologies associated with Phelan-McDermid (PMS) syndrome and to examine changes in growth and development patterns. The craniofacial 3d modeling of dysmorphologies in rare genetic diseases is in collaboration with Curtis Rogers, M.D., at the Greenwood Genetics Center. Dr. Rogers is one of the leading experts on PMS and he has been part of the community of scholars and family advocates since the syndrome was first identified.

    Natallia SiankoNatallia Sianko, Associate Professor

    Dr. Sianko is a broadly trained social scientist whose focus on research, teaching, and service activities transcend disciplinary boundaries and relates to various stakeholders, including the general scientific community, students, non-profit organizations, and governments. She contributes to the promotion of social justice and human rights, with a special focus on children and youth. Dr. Sianko’s research portfolio includes individual and collaborative initiatives on civic engagement and democratic competence among adolescents in established and aspiring democracies, help-seeking in adolescent dating violence, and monitoring and assessing the right to benefit from scientific progress. As an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice, she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on research methodology, advises graduate students in the research design and analysis, and oversees data collection, entry, and management of a multi-year, multi-site, federally funded research project.

    Kyle McLeanKyle McLean, Assistant Professor

    Dr. McLean graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice in 2018 and was named the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Sciences (LEADS) Academic in 2019. Dr. McLean works with law enforcement officers across the country to assess and recommend evidence-based practices for police departments. Dr. McLean is currently leading a team of researchers that was awarded more than $892,000 from the National Institute of Justice to evaluate a police de-escalation training program.

    Heather Hensman KettreyHeather Hensman Kettrey, Assistant Professor

    Dr. Kettrey is a sociologist whose research focuses on power, violence, and inequality specifically as they pertain to gender, sexuality, and race. Prior to arriving at Clemson, Dr. Kettrey held an appointment as a Research Associate at Vanderbilt University's Peabody Research Institute (PRI) and was a Senior Researcher at PRI's Meta-Analysis Center. Her most recent large-scale project is a meta-analysis that examines the effects of college sexual assault prevention programs on perpetration, victimization, and attitudes regarding sexual assault (with Co-Investigator Martie Thompson). Dr. Kettrey’s research has been funded by The Campbell Collaboration, March of Dimes, and the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women. She remains committed to using empirical science to understand and alleviate tangible social problems and is always looking for student research collaborators.

    Research Assistants

    Monica NwajeiMonika Nwajei, Graduate Research Assistant

    Ms. Monika Nwajei is a second-year graduate student in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice. She is also an awardee of the Spring 22 Clemson University Interdisciplinary Fellowship. Ms. Monika Nwajei graduated from Brenau University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Minor in Conflict Resolution/Prelaw. Her research interests in sociology center on the knowledge of human relationships in the justice system, juvenile sentencing trends, and juvenile sex offender registration policies. As a Research Assistant, Ms. Monika Nwajei has worked on several Bureau of Justice Assistance grants, including Adult Drug Court, Comprehensive Opioid Stimulant and Substance Abuse Site-based Program (COSSAP), and the Connect and Project Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Response. Ms. Monika Nwajei plans to utilize the research and grant writing experience gained at Clemson University to pursue a Ph.D.

    Cadi ImbodyCadi Imbody, Graduate Research Assistant

    Ms. Cadi Imbody is a first-year graduate student from Walhalla, South Carolina, obtaining a Master’s in Social Science. She is currently working as a Research Assistant for Dr. Mobley’s STEM-SBS project. Cadi is learning to assess the identity development, retention, and success of sociology students and those working in the field. Cadi is passionate about women's rights and her eight-month-old lab retriever puppy. She is looking forward to supporting other social research projects at the Center for Justice and Social Research.

    Rylie WartingerRylie Wartinger, Undergraduate Research Assistant

    Ms. Rylie Wartinger is a 3rd-year undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Criminal Justice with a minor in Philosophy. Before working as an intern for the Center for Criminal Justice and Social Research, she interned as a Victim’s Advocate at the Rock Hill Police Station. Rylie Wartinger is an enthusiastic volunteer with experience helping non-profit organizations with daily tasks and needs. She has volunteered for numerous organizations, including the Pickens Advocacy Center, The Community Cafe, Habitat for Humanity, and the Special Olympics. She is motivated and driven by cause to work diligently to accomplish a measurable impact for others within the community, which is why she is passionate about her position within the Center of Criminal Justice and Social Research. Rylie Wartinger hopes that her time here will allow her to impact others positively in all aspects of life.

  • Faculty Affiliates

    Matthew H. E. M. Browning, Associate Professor and Director of Virtual Reality & Nature LabMatthew H. E. M. Browning, Associate Professor, Director, Virtual Reality & Nature Lab

    Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

    Dr. Browning’s work is at the nexus of environmental science and public health, examining how technological nature benefits human health. My role as director of the Virtual Reality & Nature Lab ([VRN] in Sirrine 368) involves leading interventional and observational research using immersive technologies (i.e., VR, smartphone apps, holographic imagery) in the newly renovated Research Innovation Suite ([RIS] in Sirrine 374). The RIS includes four reservable rooms for CBSHS colleagues with features allowing tightly controlled experiments. The VRN specializes in spatial epidemiology and advanced exposure assessments to investigate how built, and natural environment factors influence mental health/well-being, disease, mortality, and racial violence, including fatal police shootings. Other skills and interests include artificial intelligence, climate change, health inequities, healthcare facility design, telehealth, and wearables.

    Kaileigh Byrne, Assistant Professor Kaileigh Byrne, Assistant Professor

    Department of Psychology

    Dr. Byrne's primary area of research is centered on decision-making and reward motivation.  She examines how both individual difference factors and situational factors, including stress, potential for benefits and losses, and level of effort expenditure influences affect decision-making outcomes. Her lab uses a multimodal approach to examine the cognitive, physiological, and computational processes that influence our decisions and actions.

    Lori DickesLori Dickes, Associate Chair and Graduate Programs Director

    Department of Political Science

    Dr. Dickes’ research leverages specific training in economics and policy analysis to better understand rural and regional development across different geographies and in different contexts. Dr. Dickes’ research focuses on a range of specific issues, including entrepreneurship, broadband access and availability, regional economic development, maternal health and substance use disorders, and natural resource policy; all of these issues impacting the ability of communities to be economically and socially sustainable. Using transdisciplinary and participatory methods, Dr. Dickes has experience using quantitative and qualitative approaches, including cost-benefit analysis, feasibility studies, economic and policy analysis and a wide range of community and stakeholder engagement approaches.

    Miao Li, Assistant Professor Miao Li, Assistant Professor

    Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice

    Dr. Li specializes in social determinants of health, aging and life course, family and child development, and quantitative research methods.

    Andrew Pyle, Associate Professor Andrew Pyle, Associate Professor

    Department of Communication

    Dr. Pyle's research focuses on the intersection of crisis communication and intercultural communication. He is also interested in the ways that organizations employ social media to manage crisis communication. With fellow Center for Criminal Justice and Social Research faculty affiliates, Pyle has begun studying the intersection of effective crisis communication and novel approaches to policing and police communication.

    Corrine Sackett, Associate Professor Corrine Sackett, Associate Professor

    Department of Education and Human Development

    Dr. Sackett’s research agenda centers on accessing and utilizing client perspectives of the counseling process to improve client engagement and outcomes. Her research ultimately helps to improve the quality and outcome of care for mental health and addictions counseling in a variety of settings through accessing and utilizing client perspectives to inform treatment. Dr. Sackett also targets advocacy around societal issues in her research.

    Iryna SharaievskaIryna Sharaievska, Assistant Professor

    Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

    Dr. Sharaievska’s research focuses on technology-based leisure in contemporary families, leisure behavior among individuals and families of diverse backgrounds (non-resident parent, veteran families, low-income and rural families, family members with disabilities), and the use of new technologies in recreation management (e.g., the new media/social network sites, gaming, cell phones, navigational devices).

    Mark SmallMark Small, Professor, Director, Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life

    Department of Psychology

    Dr. Small’s research focuses on community approaches to well-being, community mental health, social justice, and program evaluation.

    Thomas starkeyThomas Sharkey, Professor

    Department of Industrial Engineering

    Dr. Sharkey is interested in creating engineering models that can help address social issues including sex trafficking and the opioid epidemic.  He is particularly interested in ensuring that the models help address these issues in ways that bring in expertise from diverse stakeholders, including those that have lived experience.  He has worked with partners across survivor advocacy organizations, public health organizations, and law enforcement.  His technical expertise is in the area of network analysis.

    Jose TorresJose Torres, Assistant Professor

    Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice

    Dr. Torres’ research interests center on capturing significant contemporary shifts in policing theory, policy, and practice. Within this, he looks at the policing of public housing communities, the impact of the post-Ferguson period on law enforcement, and the policing of marijuana. Through this work, Dr. Torres addresses community policing, social control, the policing of marginalized groups, and the social-psychology of police officers.

  • Projects

    Acquisition of Common-Use Geophysical Equipment for Locating, Researching, and Protecting Archaeological and Cultural Resources on Clemson University Landscapes: Multiple departments across Clemson University through Faculty Affiliate David Markus will examine the over 42,000 acres of land between its main campus, experimental forest, satellite campuses, and experiment station. These holdings, utilized by multiple units for research and education, are a largely undocumented landscape of threatened archaeological, cultural, and environmental resources. This project aims to acquire a full-spectrum suite of geophysical equipment to document, protect, interpret, and research various landscapes. 

    An Evaluation of De-Escalation Training to Understand the Links between Training and Outcomes: Faculty Advisory Board member Kyle McLean will evaluate a hybrid (in-person/online) de-escalation training program. This project will use systematic social observation of body-worn camera video to examine improvements in officer behaviors in non-use-of-force incidents and differences between trained and untrained officers in the transactional nature of use-of-force incidents. If successful, the hybrid format of the training program could be particularly impactful for small and/or rural agencies, which tend to have a limited ability to gather officers in-person for in-service training.

    Assessment of Cognitive Performance-Based Training to Improve Police Decision-Making: Faculty Advisory Board member Kyle McLean partnered with three law enforcement agencies: Richland County (SC) Sheriff’s Department, Columbia (SC) Police Department, and the Clemson University Police Department to assess the cognitive performance-based training to improve police decision-making. This project examines the influence of expertise relative to other individual traits on adaptive decision-making ability and assesses the ability of structured video-based decision-making training to improve expertise and, subsequently, adaptive decision-making ability.

    Clemson University Police Behavioral Health Crisis Response Program: Faculty Advisory Board Member Kyle McLean and CJSR staff Bryan Lee Miller and Monika Nwajei partnered with the Clemson University Police Department (CUPD) to implement a community law enforcement-mental health collaborative strategy to improve responses and connections to treatment for people with mental health and co-occurring disorders. The project will include a tailored police mental health collaboration (PMHC) strategy, including CIT and MHFA law enforcement training delivered to partnering agencies combined with an embedded clinician co-responder team that will provide screening, assessment, and referrals for MHD/CMHSUD services toward the goal of improved public safety and diversion from the criminal justice system. The project is supported by a scientific mixed methods program evaluation and assessment of the PMHC strategy on community satisfaction, including marginalized populations. Evaluators will provide empirical feedback for program improvement and dissemination of process and outcome findings to law enforcement and scientific communities.

    Community Food and Mental Health Assessment for Rural South Carolina: Associate Director Catherine Mobley serves as the principal investigator on the Community Food and Mental Health Assessment for Rural South Carolina project. This project examines food insecurity in nine rural South Carolina high-need counties through a community food assessment. Building on a recently conducted food assessment in Pickens County, this model includes measures on mental health to examine and understand the relationship between food insecurity and mental health in rural communities. Using existing partners and CU Extension offices in each county, this project will produce comprehensive findings on food insecurity, mental health prevalence, transportation infrastructure, healthy food outlets, food pantry resources, as well as GIS spatial mapping of food access/healthy food outlets/SNAPEBT food outlet availability, as well as a mental health resource inventory for rural residents.

    Evaluation of the Jasper County (MO) Family Treatment Court: Director Bryan Miller, Faculty Affiliate Iryna Sharaievska from PRTM, and CJSR graduate research assistants will work with Jasper County and the 29th Judicial District of Missouri to evaluate the Jasper County Family Treatment Court (JCFTC). CJSR will ensure that implementation of the JCFTC is assessment and data-driven and develop a data collection plan to track the successful completion of clients’ treatment plans and track performance measures.

    Explaining the Choice, Persistence, and Attrition of Black Students in Electrical, Computer, and Mechanical Engineering: Along with her research team, Associate Director Catherine Mobley seeks to identify institutional policies and practices that correlate with increased persistence and graduation or attrition of Black engineering students and translate the findings into actionable recommendations for engineering administrators and instructors. This study aims to address research gaps on Blacks in engineering through a comparative case study conducted at five institutions: two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and three Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) in the Southeastern US.

    Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) COSSAP Project: Director Bryan Lee Miller will conduct a comprehensive mixed-methods process and outcome evaluation incorporating qualitative and quantitative research techniques to determine adherence to evidence-based practice, programmatic fidelity, and outcome effectiveness. The proposed project will infuse sincerely needed resources into one of the states most devastated by the still-rising opioid crisis and provide examples of data collection and evaluation steps that other criminal justice and public health settings could replicate.

    GIS Application for Building a Nationally Representative Forensic Taphonomy Database: Faculty Advisory Board member Katherine Weisensee will develop an application to allow forensic practitioners to efficiently submit reliable and accurate information about the characteristics observed in forensic casework with embedded georeferenced information to build a data repository. This project will use the data repository from submitted forensic casework to develop robust models for calculating the time since death to provide accurate estimates with known error rates by utilizing georeferenced data and other curated environmental data.

    Greenville County (SC) Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Other Substance Abuse Initiative: The project will develop a comprehensive local response to Greenville County’s substance abuse problem through synthesizing grant resources with existing practices and personnel. The project addresses issues related to racial equity and the removal of barriers to access and opportunity for communities that have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by inequality through providing enhanced implicit bias training for law enforcement and treatment services targeted to underserved minority communities. Greenville County Sheriff’s Office has formed a strong research-practitioner partnership with the Center for Justice and Social Research at Clemson University to provide a mixed scientific methods program evaluation to provide empirical feedback for program improvement and dissemination of process and outcome findings to the law enforcement and research communities.

    Greenville Project Safe Neighborhoods: Perceptions of Policing among Nicholtown Community Residents:Faculty from INFL Mark Smalls and the CJSR Natallia Sianko and Nasaskyia Hicks partnered with the Greenville City Police Department on the Department of Justice Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). This community-based initiative will assess perceptions of policing to build trust and legitimacy between Nicholtown community residents and law enforcement.

    Law Enforcement Family Wellbeing Study: The overarching goal of LEFWS is to investigate the health and well-being of LEOs and their family members (parents, spouses, and children). It seeks to understand the long-term association between law enforcement services and the health and well-being of families. Findings from the study will improve law enforcement services, enhance the public-police relationship, and design effective intervention programs for law enforcement families in need.

    Missouri 29th Judicial Circuit Co-Occurring Treatment Court Enhancement Initiative: Director Bryan Lee Miller will evaluate the Missouri Twenty-ninth Judicial Circuit Court’s Jasper County Co-occurring Disorders Court Enhancement Initiative, a rolling admission, post-adjudication, five-phase, 18-month treatment program for offenders experiencing co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse (CMISA). Project goals include: 1) enhancing early identification of participants to minimize time to treatment through administration of RANT screening to abbreviate the timeframe between jail detention and court appearance to expedite treatment trajectories; 2) expanding CODC enrollment per increased need for services; 3) providing increased training and non-adversarial legal representation, 4) the delivery of evidence-based, individualized treatment for CMISA disorders including family programming and 5) effect relapse and recidivism reduction among CODC graduates. The research team will provide a final technical report to include an executive summary and program suggestions, as well as disseminate results to practitioner and scientific stakeholders through journal publications and conference presentations.

    Missouri 29th Judicial Circuit Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) Enhancement Initiative: Director Bryan Lee Miller will evaluate the Missouri Twenty-ninth Judicial Circuit Court’s Jasper County Veterans Treatment Court Enhancement Initiative. An embedded jail clinician will align individualized treatment plans, including case management, CBT sessions, MAT community service, restitution, and an aftercare/post-graduation success plan. Project goals include 1) expanding program enrollment; 2) minimizing time to treatment through administration of RANT screening to coordinate program admission with VTC and abbreviating the timeframe between jail detention and court appearance to expedite treatment trajectories; 3) delivery of evidence-based, individualized treatment for SA, MI, and CMISA disorders; 4) effect relapse reduction among VTC graduates; and 5) effect recidivism reduction among VTC graduates.

    Oconee County (SC) Addiction Recovery & Solutions Initiative: Director Bryan Lee Miller and CJSR staff Monika Nwajei partnered with Oconee Addiction Recovery & Solutions (OARS) to evaluate Oconee County’s Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Site-based Program. This project aims to design and implement a collaborative intervention strategy for an alternative-to-incarceration program to serve individuals at high risk for overdose or substance abuse. An independent research team based at Clemson University will evaluate and assist the project by assuming responsibility for all quarterly and semi-annual performance measures reporting.

    Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines: Review and Revision: Faculty Affiliate Rhys Hester partnered with the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing and the Penn State Criminal Justice Research Center to review and revise a new version (v.8) of the PA sentencing guidelines. The multifaceted project aims to evaluate the sentencing risk assessment instrument, focusing on data-driven research to inform best practices for prior record enhancements, guideline structure, departure policies, and mitigating racial and ethnic disparities. 

    Urbanization and the Transformation of Village Land Rights in China: Faculty Affiliate Yi Wu is investigating the Urbanization and the Transformation of Village Land Rights in China. This project examines how village communities and rural individuals have defended and redefined their land rights within the context of rapid urbanization in China. Through participant observation, interviewing, and documentary research, this project collects field data from village communities in southwest and north China experiencing urbanization at different rates and in different environments.

  • Contact Us

    Location: Brackett 130I
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
    Phone: 864-656-3238

Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice
Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice | 132 Brackett Hall