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Criminal Justice Research Center

The Virginia DCJS Criminal Justice Research Center conducts studies, produces reports, and provides research and statistical assistance on a wide range of criminal justice issues. These services are provided to Virginia's state and local government agencies, academic institutions, citizens, and the federal government. The Research Center strives to continually improve understanding of criminal justice concerns and underlying factors, with the goal of delivering the best possible information to service providers and policy makers to aid in their decision-making.

Research Center activities and responsibilities include:

  • Serve as Virginia‚Äôs Statistical Analysis Center (SAC), one of a national network of SACs and a member of the Justice Information Resource Network (JIRN).
  • Analyze and report crime statistics for state, regions and localities.
  • Prepare annual forecasts of the local-responsible population held in jails.
  • Analyze Community Policing Act data related to law enforcement encounters with citizens.
  • Respond to requests for crime statistics and data from state and local government, business and citizens.
  • Provide research and data support to special commissions and other bodies established by Governor, Secretary of Public Safety and General Assembly.
  • Design, conduct, and report on evaluation studies of criminal justice programs and policies.
  • Make recommendations for guiding and improving criminal justice programs and policies.
  • Survey constituent groups to identify needs and concerns, understand current policies and practices, and assess gaps and needs.
  • Assist state and local agencies in performing evaluation tasks and establishing databases that are useful for evaluation research.


Criminal Justice Research Center Staff


Baron Blakley, M.A.
(804) 786-3057

Baron manages the Criminal Justice Research Center, which provides research and data to Virginia government's executive, legislative, and court branches. He is responsible for overseeing Research Center projects, coordinating Research Center activities with other DCJS activities, producing research plans and reports, maintaining research-related grants, and maintaining the Center's Statistical Analysis Center role with the Justice Research Statistics Association (JRSA). Baron also develops an annual forecast of the local-responsible population held in jails, and a report on drug seizure data from the Virginia Department of Forensic Science.

Sherri Johnson, M.S.
Criminal Justice Research Analyst
(804) 786-7427

Sherri assists and supports agency staff with the collection, analysis, and reporting of primary data to support and inform agency functions and programs. This includes data collection and analysis to inform the Virginia Forensic Examiner Medical Services Statewide directory, Virginia Victims Crisis Assistance and Response Team (VCART) directory, Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Programs Professional Standards Accreditation, statewide implementation of Marcus-David Peters Act, and assist in the application of Law Enforcement Compulsory Minimum Training Standards.

Debbie Roberts, B.S., CIS
Criminal Justice Research Analyst
(804) 786-4612

Debbie maintains and analyzes a data warehouse (over 8 million records and growing) of incident-based Uniform Crime Reports (VAIBRS) from law enforcement agencies across Virginia. She uses VAIBRS and other federal, state, and local databases to provide Virginia with reports on all facets of crime, offenders, and victims including violent and property crime trends, domestic and school violence and victimization, and drug arrest trends.

Shweta Agrawal
Criminal Justice Research Analyst
(804) 371-0532

Shweta is expanding the Research Center's capacity to manage and run analyses on large databases, in support of multiple projects. Her current focus is on drug seizures, drug overdoses, and jail data. 

Karen Blackwell
Criminal Justice Research Analyst
(804) 225-4865

Karen is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and reporting Community Policing Act data related to law enforcement encounters with citizens, crime and arrest data, and other data to support policies and programs for law enforcement, adult and juvenile corrections, victims' services, and other criminal justice system activities.