School of Justice Research Program Reports and Updates

The School of Justice Research Program is an important Program of Distinction initiative which helps to support faculty and graduate students to produce cutting-edge research-based knowledge that will be used in the classroom, and that is relevant and beneficial to the Commonwealth. Many of these projects involve graduate and undergraduate students, facilitating an important avenue for faculty/student collaboration and publication. Below are the summary reports of 2013-2014 awards. Please note that some of these projects are ongoing and will be updated as the projects progress.

Collins, Victoria, Ph.D.

Women, Resistance, and the State 

Historically, women have been an important force in resisting and organizing against the state for social change, by fighting for political, social, and legislative change in ways that have often gone unrecognized.  The focus of this research is to examine the role of women as resistors of state-perpetrated violence, both as it relates to women’s rights and state crime in general.  By drawing on several case studies, this project pays particular attention to the rewards and costs to women resistors of state crime, as well as to the larger power structures of state during times of peace, conflict, and post-conflict transition.  This unique research provides a criminological analysis of the role of women and gender in resisting state crime.


Gray, Kishonna, Ph.D. and Melissa Pujol, M.S.

“If I Kill 100 – I Win!”  Examining the Ethical and Moral Dilemmas of Choosing to Commit Violent Crimes in Video Games

This research examines the decision making process by video game players involved in choosing to commit violent acts in games with karma scales.  Research suggests that with prolonged exposure to violence, either real or mediated, one becomes more desensitized to the true consequences of violent actions.  The purposes of this study is to examine the moral and ethical dilemma presented by the decision of having to commit violent acts while playing video games.


Linnemann, Travis, Ph.D.

In Plain View:  Violence and the Police Image

This project explored production of the police power by developing conceptually and theoretically, the police trophy shot, which is understood as:  1). A visual representation of a police officer or officers posing with seized property.  2). A photo accompanying an official press release announcing a “major bust”.  3). A photo produced informally by police officers in order to commemorate a particular arrest or event.  4). A stark representation of the state’s prerogative to search, seize, and accumulate private property.  Engaging the many sites of police image work, the police trophy shot offers a powerful diagnostic into the ways in which police violence is often beyond sight or obscured by cultural anesthesia.


Schept, Judah, Ph.D.

Mining the Past, Imprisoning the Future:  Coal, Capital and the Carceral in Appalachia

This report continues previous years’ research into the geography and politics of prison growth in Central Appalachia.  With a focus on the temporal continuity and physical contiguity between coal and prison landscapes, this project broadly analyzes the material, ideological, and cultural work of the carceral state in the region, with a focus on eastern Kentucky.  There are 7 prisons in eastern Kentucky, and with a federal penitentiary undergoing the final stages of the siting process, it appears that an eighth prison (the fourth federal facility) will soon occupy the eastern Kentucky landscape.


Wall, Tyler, Ph.D.

The Spectacular Hunt:  Police Roundup Powers and the Capitalist Spectacle

In Manhunts: A Philosophical History (2012), Grégoire Chamayou insightfully demonstrates the politico-historical importance of the manhunt, arguing how the hunt for humans by humans has long been a central means of enforcing relations of domination.   Most interesting for my purposes here is Chamayou’s provocative argument that the modern police department is first and foremost a “hunting institution”, coming into existence largely by the state appropriating the legitimate means of pursuit and capture.  The manhunt predates the modern police department as attested to by the biblical figure of Nimrod, described as a “Great hunter” of men, the slave hunts of antiquity (Greek and Roman, for example), and the colonial, capitalist hunts for the indigenous and chattel slaves in the American South.  Emerging out of and alongside this history though is what Chamayou calls the “founding act” of police power – specifically referencing the massive “rounding up” of the poor, beggars, and vagrants in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries (Chamayou 2012), a power that later became central to the Nazi round ups of Jews and Gypsies.   Important here is the older notion of police that understood police as broad social policy (Foucault, 2007; Neocleous, 2000) – state power itself understood as a broad police power.   Hence the founding act of hunting surplus subjects predated what is commonly known as the police.  But the prerogatives of pursuing, tracking, and capturing eventually came to be monopolized by the administrative, “professional” police force.  The modern police department, then, is the “state’s arm of pursuit” and thereby codifying and institutionalizing the state’s monopoly on the hunt.   Chamayou’s analysis is helpful in a variety of ways, one of which is it placing the practice of predation at the heart of capitalist order and one of its main sovereign arteries, the police power.  


Wells, James, Ph.D.

Major Jack J. Wells and Vietnam:  A Case Study of the Prosocial Organizational Behavior (POB) Model of Whistle-Blowing

Today, “whistle-blowers are in the news these days, held up as role models” that “risk everything to expose corruption, greed and illegal activity” (Devine & Maassarani, 2011, p. 18). For over 25 years researchers have regarded whistle-blowing as a prosocial behavior that is intended to benefit other persons (Staub, 1978). However, a review of the scholarly literature on whistle-blowing as a prosocial behavior indicates that most of the published research is dominated by the fields of business, accounting, management, industry, human resources, medicine, nursing, and education. The number of studies on whistle-blowing as a prosocial behavior found in the criminology and criminal justice literature are small in comparison to the number of studies found in the above-mentioned fields. In fact, what few studies that have been done on prosocial behavior have focused on studying the organizational citizenship behavior of correctional staff (Lambert, 2010; Lambert, Hogan, & Griffin, 2008; E.G. Lambert, personal communication, August 11, 2014). Furthermore, a review of the literature has not identified any studies that examined whistle-blowing as a prosocial behavior in regard to overseas policing and public safety activities conducted by the US military and the US State Department. Top of Form


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