The Crime & Justice Research Center conducts primary research, including data collection and analysis, program evaluation, and collaborative research with local, state, and federal criminal justice agencies.
Principal Investigator: Jacqueline B. Helfgott, Co-Investigator: Elaine Gunnison, Graduate Research Assistant: Kim Satterfield
The Seattle University Crime & Justice Research Center partnered with the King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention to conduct a descriptive evaluation of the South King County Pretrial Assessment and Linkages Services (PALS) Pilot Program.
Findings from the descriptive evaluation are presented in this report.
The descriptive evaluation of the PALS Pilot Program was implemented by the King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention September 2020 through December 2021. The PALS Pilot Program offers a jail alternative for eligible and appropriate felony pretrial defendants in South King County, Washington. The program was launched to serve selected felony pretrial defendants in South King County, Washington to fill a gap in services for pretrial defendants in the South King County geographical region, one of the most racially and economically diverse regions in the state. KCDAJD is committed to addressing disproportionality and recognizes their role in aiding King County Superior Court to reduce the impacts to individuals, particularly Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) who have become involved in the criminal legal system and who reside or have community ties in South King County. The PALS Pilot Program addresses service gaps of pretrial defendants entering the criminal legal system in South King County, Washington. The PALS Pilot Program employs a human services approach by providing responsive services and support as an alternative to incarceration. PALS services include substance use disorder treatment, opiate disorder treatment (Buprenorphine/ Suboxone), counseling, mental health, and behavioral health services, cognitive-behavioral intervention, acupuncture services, and GED preparation and testing. The primary goal of the PALS Pilot Program is to improve opportunities for reentry success through the acceptance of court-referred individuals into a welcoming, therapeutic environment that is culturally responsive and adequately staffed and resourced to meet client needs; linking clients to off-site services; and referring clients to ongoing behavioral health and other services, as appropriate, upon discharge. The goal of this descriptive evaluation of the PALS Pilot Program is to tell the story of the pilot program implementation and process; describe the program; provide a profile of PALS program clients with attention to the services utilized, program dosage (defined as number of days in the PALS Pilot Program), and recidivism (defined as violations (citations and/or arrests) post PALs Pilot Program intake); and to identify program strengths, weaknesses, and satisfaction from the perspective of clients, staff, and city administrators. Outcome data was obtained from the Administration of Courts and publicly available court data. Qualitative data was collected through structured interviews with clients, program staff, ancillary staff, attorneys, judges, Kent City Officials to understand the experiences and perspectives of PALS participants, the staff charged with delivering the program, and city officials in the city in which the program is located. The results of the descriptive evaluation of the PALS Pilot Program suggest that the PALS Pilot Program is a starting point as a South King County jail alternative for continued and expanded services for individuals, most of whom are BIPOC, who may not otherwise have access to services in the diverse South King County geographical region.
Jacqueline B. Helfgott and Matthew J. Hickman
The Seattle University Crime & Justice Research Center partnered with the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission to conduct a longitudinal evaluation of guardian training for law enforcement officers implemented at the WSCJTC in 2012.
Findings from the longitudinal evaluation are reported in a series of reports completed from 2015-2021.
This project was piloted in 2014-15 with a pre/post survey instrument at the WSCJTC BLEA to evaluate training effects of the guardian training implemented in 2012. The study follows 40 BLEA cohorts (710-750) through academy training pre/post and 1-year/3-year post-graduation. The results of the pilot study were reported in a Phase 1 Report entitled “Evaluation of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission’s “Warriors to Guardians” Cultural Shift and Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training” (Helfgott, et al., 2015).
The study was continued July 2016-June 2017 to collect longitudinal data on the effectiveness of WSCJTC guardian-focused BLEA training at 6-months and 1-year post academy graduation.Phase 2 results were reported in a second report entitled,
The study was continued in Phase 3 through April 2019 to collect longitudinal data 1 and 3-years post BLEA graduation, and the results were reported in a third report entitled, “The Effect of Guardian-Focused Training for Law Enforcement Officers: Longitudinal Continuation” (Helfgott and Hickman, 2019).
No two neighborhoods in Seattle are the same. Micro-Community Policing Plans (MCPP) recognize and address this. These plans are developed by bringing community engagement and crime data together and directing police services to address the individual needs of each community.
Annually, Seattle University conducts an independent public safety survey of each neighborhood. This captures the concerns of each neighborhood and gives SPD clear areas of focus.
In between annual Seattle Public Safety Survey administrations October 15-November 30, Seattle University also conducts regular annual focus groups from May through August in all Seattle micro-communities.
Principal Investigator: Jacqueline B. Helfgott, Research Assistant/Analysts: Shannon Christensen, Alexander Dvorsky, Cierrah Loveness, and JT Melbourn
The Seattle University Crime & Justice Research Center partnered with the Seattle Police Department as part of the Seattle Police Department’s Micro-Community Policing Plans to conduct virtual community-police dialogues during Spring 2021.
The Seattle University SPD MCPP Research Team will conduct SPD MCPP Community-Police Dialogues in May through August, 2022.
Seattle University has collaborated with the Seattle Police Department since 2015 to conduct the annual Seattle Public Safety Survey as part of the Micro-Community Policing Plans (MCPP). In 2021, Seattle University piloted virtual community-police dialogues as part of the MCPP that involved conversations between Seattle community members and Seattle Police Department personnel who engaged in dialogue to discuss the 2020 Seattle Public Safety Survey results and real-time concerns about crime and public safety and security. The purpose of the dialogues was to give community members who live and work in Seattle the opportunity to engage in conversation with Seattle police personnel to discuss concerns about public safety and security at the micro-community (neighborhood) level. All who live and/or work in Seattle were eligible to participate in the virtual community-police dialogues with the goal of engaging community members and SPD personnel in conversation about the results of the 2020 Seattle Public Safety Survey and to provide opportunity to share and discuss real-time concerns about crime and public safety and security at the micro-communities/neighborhood level. The results presented in this report offer a window into the dialogue sessions that involved over 100 community members and over 100 police personnel in 15 distinct two-hour dialogue sessions (three for each of the five SPD Precincts) conducted from May 2021- August 2021. The themes and quotes provided in this report convey the essence of the dialogue sessions highlighting the key themes identified by precinct.
Jacqueline B. Helfgott, William S. Parkin, Christopher Fisher, Lauren Morgan, Simran Kaur
Examining trends in misdemeanor arrests, charges, and referrals as one of seven jurisdictions in the Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice to provide information of value to policymakers, criminal justice professionals, and researchers in Seattle and nationwide to replicate findings from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Trends in Misdemeanor Arrests, Referrals, & Charges in Seattle is part of the Misdemeanor Justice Project at John Jay College of Criminal Justice Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.
Selected Examples of Collaborative Research with Criminal Justice Agency Partners
Research is conducted under the direction of faculty in the Criminal Justice, Criminology & Forensics Department. If you are interested in exploring collaborative research opportunities with the department please contact Dr. Jacqueline Helfgott by email.
Crime and Justice Research Center
Elaine Gunnison, PhD
Jacqueline Helfgott, PhD
Helfgott, J.B., Gunnison, E., Squires, T., Messelu, K., & Guyo, N., Bogucki, K., Pilon, D., & Flame, A. (December 27, 2019). Seattle Women’s Reentry - Seattle Women’s Second Chance Reentry Grant Strategic Planning and Evaluation. Final Report. Seattle, WA.
Download the report
Helfgott, J.B., Connor, D.P., Strah, B.M., & Giuffre, A. (April 3, 2019). Attitudes and Experiences of Registered Sex and Kidnapping Offenders in Washington State: Final Report. Seattle, WA.
This report presents findings from a survey of 402 registered sex and kidnapping offenders in Washington State regarding their perceptions of registration and notification as implemented by Washington State’s Community Protection Act and the federal system’s Sex Offender Notification Act. The purpose of this research is to examine the views of registrants regarding the impact of registration to in Washington State to understand how registration impacts the reintegration of sex and kidnapping offenders in the community post-registration. The findings offer information to better understand the impact of sex and kidnapping registration from the perspective of registrants and the ways in which registration may impact community reintegration and reentry.
Helfgott, J.B., Hickman, M.J., & Malterud, E.M. (June 30, 2017). The effect of guardian-focused training for law enforcement officers
(Collaboration with the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission)
This report presents results from a research effort focused on training at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) evaluating the impact of curriculum changes implemented as part of the warrior to guardian cultural shift including Crisis Intervention Training (CIT). The purpose of this project was to evaluate the effect of changes in the curriculum and environment at WSCJTC on officer attitudes and knowledge. This report presents findings from the longitudinal continuation of the pilot evaluation completed in 2015 with focus on the relationship between officer characteristics and training effects.
Technical report to: The Constitution Project, Feb. 2017.
Helfgott, J.B. & Parkin, W. (January 31, 2017). Seattle Police Department's Micro-Community Policing Plans Evaluation (Collaboration with the Seattle Police Department) (click on title for pdf) Reports results of the evaluation of the Seattle Police Department’s Micro-Community Policing Plans (See: https://www.seattle.gov/police/community-policing/mcpp )
The primary goal of this study was to estimate the economic costs associated with aggravated murder cases that result in death sentences and compare those costs to other aggravated murder cases, the majority of which resulted in some form of a life sentence, in the state of Oregon.
Helfgott, J.B., Conn-Johnson, C., & Wood, N. (May 21, 2015). Seattle Police Department CIT Culture Survey Final Report. Seattle Police Foundation/City of Seattle Police Department Consultant Agreement.
Reports results of a survey of Seattle Police Department personnel regarding perceptions of CIT for the purpose of examining organizational support for implementation of the CIT model in law enforcement.
Helfgott, J.B., Atherley, L., Pollock, J., Vinson, J., Strah, B., Neidhart, E., Conn-Johnson, C., Hickman, M., & Wood, N. (June 30, 2015). Evaluation of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission’s “Warriors to Guardians” Cultural Shift and Crisis Intervention (CIT) Training Final Report. Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission Consultant Agreement.
This report presents results from a research effort focused on training at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) evaluating the impact of curriculum changes implemented as part of the warrior to guardian cultural shift including Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), Blue Courage Training, and Tactical Social Interaction training. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the effect of changes in the curriculum and environment at WSCJTC on officer attitudes and knowledge. This pilot project was intended to develop and administer an instrument to measure the impact of elements of the WSCJTC training curriculum, establish baseline measurements and construct validity for the survey instrument and method, and provide recommendations for longitudinal study of the impact of training.
Helfgott, J.B., Hickman, M.J., and Labossiere, A., 2012, A Descriptive Evaluation of the Seattle Police Department's Crisis Intervention Team-Mental Health Partnership Pilot Project
(Collaboration with the Seattle Police Department)
The report presents results of a survey of Seattle Police Personnel on their perceptions of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model. The report is part of a data collection effort within SPD to evaluate the implementation of the CIT model as part of the new CIT policy put forth by the Crisis Intervention Committee that was established as part of the SPD compliance with the 2012 U.S. Department of Justice settlement agreement. The study was funded by a grant from the Seattle Police Foundation.
Rahr, S. & Rice, S.K. (2015). From Warriors to Guardians: Recommitting American Police Culture to Democratic Ideals (Collaboration with Sue Rahr, Executive Director, Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission) (click on title to hyperlink to report)
A report published by the Harvard Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety and funded by the OJP National Institute of Justice (NIJ) on addressing the internal and external culture of police agencies to create a culture that supports a guardian mindset.
Collins, P.A., Boruchowitz, R.C., Hickman, M.J., and Larranaga, M.A. 2015. An Analysis of the Economic Costs of Seeking the Death Penalty
(Collaboration with the American Civil Liberties of Washington Foundation and the Seattle University School of Law)
An in-depth study by Seattle University Criminal Justice and Law professors found costs related to pursuing the death penalty are about 1.4 to 1.5 times more than when a prosecutor does not seek death.combining all cost categories, the average cost of a death penalty case in Washington is $3.07 million, compared to $2.01 million (in 2010 dollars) for cases in which the prosecutor does not seek death. Adjusted to 2014 dollars, that difference is $1.15 million.
Parkin, W.S., Helfgott, J.B., Collins, P.A., Jandro, E., and Messelu, K. 2014. Yesler Terrace Public Safety Assessment
A final report and pamphlet presenting findings of a public safety assessment of the Yesler Terrace housing development. The study was funded by the Seattle Housing Authority and involved a partnership between SHA and Seattle University to collect data on the impact of redevelopment of Yesler Terrace on public safety and the development of a Yesler Terrace Public Safety Plan.
Gunnison, E. & Helfgott, J.B. (In Press). A day in the life of a day reporting center. Corrections Compendium. (Collaboration with King County Department of Juvenile and Adult Detention/ Community Center for Alternative Programs (CCAP))
An evaluation of the KCJAD CCAP’s Day Reporting Center Program.
Helfgott, J.B., Sumner, J., Gunnsion, E., Collins, P., and Rice, S. 2014. Process Evaluation of the Seattle Police Department's IF Project
(Collaboration with the Seattle Police Department and the Washington State Department of Corrections)
A process evaluation of the Seattle Police Department’s “IF” Project including a pre/post evaluation of “IF” Project workshops and analysis of “IF” Project letters written by program participants incarcerated at male, female, and juvenile correctional facilities.