Criminal Justice Research Center

The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, 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.

Activities of the Research Center include:

  • Serves as Virginia’s Statistical Analysis Center (SAC), one of a national nework of SACs and a member of the Justice Research Statistics Association (JRSA).
  • Analyzes and reports crime statistics for state, regions and localities.
  • Prepares annual forecasts of statewide local jail inmate populations.
  • Responds to requests for crime statistics and data from state and local government, business and citizens.
  • Provides research and data support to special commissions and other bodies established by Governor, Secretary of Public Safety and General Assembly.
  • Designs, conducts and reports on evaluation studies of criminal justice programs and policies.
  • Makes recommendations for guiding and improving criminal justice programs and policies.
  • Provides assistance to state and local agencies in performing evaluation tasks and establishing databases that are useful for evaluation research.

Criminal Justice Research Center Staff

Jim McDonough, Ph.D.
(804) 371-0532
Jim McDonough 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 Blakley, M.A.
Criminal Justice Research Analyst
(804) 786-3057
Baron's primary responsibilities include developing a population forecast for the local responsible offenders held in jails, producing an annual report on drug seizure data from the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, preparing reports on the trends related to the opioid overdose epidemic, and analyzing and reporting on trends in criminal justice and socioeconomic data.

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 the annual Virginia School and Division Safety survey, biannual Lethality Assessment Program data, as well as the collection of needs assessment data to guide training in victim services.

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.