The WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center highlights the rigorous research and evaluation work that WestEd researchers are conducting in the areas of school safety, violence and crime prevention, juvenile and criminal justice, and public health. A primary goal of the Center is to become a “trusted” source of evidence on the effects of policies and programs in these areas.
In addition to conducting research and evaluation studies, Center staff promote the use of scientific evidence in making decisions about programs, policies, and practices relevant to justice and prevention.
See our list of distinguished advisors.
Collaboration Across WestEd
The WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center brings together researchers from across WestEd with skills and experience in a wide range of areas relevant to justice and crime prevention. Education, public health, and human development are just a few of the areas this agency cross-collaboration brings to the Center.
In particular, the Center is an important component of the Learning Innovations (LI) program at WestEd, with Center researchers engaging in many innovative projects through teamwork within LI.
The Center also collaborates with other WestEd programs, including the Evaluation Research Program and the Health & Human Development Program.
With the shared objectives of working toward healthy children, adults, and communities, the cross-program collaboration throughout WestEd has strengthened the Center’s contributions to justice and prevention.
Visit the Our Work section of this website to learn about past and current Center research and evaluation studies, and our partners.
Anthony Petrosino (Director)
Anthony Petrosino is Director of the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center. He also serves as Project Director and Senior Research Associate in the Learning Innovations program at WestEd, and Senior Research Fellow at George Mason University’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy.
Petrosino co-directs research and evaluation projects funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Petrosino has more than 25 years of experience collaborating on research and evaluation projects, with many of them focused on justice, prevention, and safety topics. In addition, he has co¬authored more than 100 articles, book chapters, and technical reports.
Prior to joining WestEd, Petrosino served as Founding Coordinator for the Campbell Collaboration’s Crime & Justice Group, receiving a Distinguished Service Award for his service. In addition, he was elected “Honorary Fellow” by the Academy of Experimental Criminology in 2005 and received the Paul D. Hood Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Field from WestEd in 2011.
In 2012, Petrosino was selected by the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Global Violence Prevention to serve on a Committee to organize a conference on the research evidence for violence prevention. He currently serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Experimental Criminology.
Sarah Guckenburg is a researcher with the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center. She also serves as a Senior Research Associate at WestEd.
As part of her Center work, Guckenburg is a Co-Director and researcher on school climate, bullying, youth violence, teen pregnancy, and school safety projects. For example, she co-directs a community-based randomized controlled trial of a Latino/a teen pregnancy prevention program and a study of restorative justice practices in schools.
Guckenburg is also part of the evaluation team for the South Carolina Safe and Supportive Schools initiative addressing school climate and serves on the team evaluating the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative, a statewide urban violence prevention strategy in Massachusetts.
In addition, Guckenburg has collaborated on these systematic review projects: Formal System Processing—Effects on Delinquency and evaluations of police-schools interventions.
Prior to joining WestEd, Guckenburg worked for Join Together, a project of Boston University School of Public Health created to advance effective alcohol and drug policy, prevention, and treatment. While at Join Together, Guckenburg helped organizations in their data collection procedures to monitor and evaluate drug and alcohol prevention programs.
Trevor A. Fronius
Trevor A. Fronius is a researcher with the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center where he serves as project director, researcher, and data manager on rigorous experimental and quasi-experimental studies in justice, school safety, violence prevention, and public health sectors.
A Senior Research Associate at WestEd, Fronius also has extensive experience conducting applied studies to document current policy, practices, and evidence on subjects such as juvenile drug court and restorative justice.
He has conducted systematic reviews of formal police-school programs in the United States and abroad, and intervention impacts on enrollment in developing nations. In addition, Fronius is experienced in instrument development and implementation, qualitative research techniques such as focus groups and interviewing, and analysis of complex secondary data sources.
Much of Fronius’ work involves extensive methodological and statistical knowledge; sound data collection and coding techniques; and proficiency across a variety of statistical platforms.
Pamela MacDougall is a Research Assistant with the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center. She also works on various projects as a member of WestEd’s Learning Innovations program.
Within the Justice & Prevention Research Center, MacDougall organizes and monitors field research; schedules interviews and project activities; develops online questionnaires; analyzes and synthesizes survey data; contributes to evaluation report and proposal writing; and conducts background research, and quantitative and qualitative data analyses.
MacDougall is a member of the WestEd SurveyWorks! Team, charged with designing, implementing, and reporting on a suite of online surveys for all students, parents, teachers, and administrators in Rhode Island. MacDougall helps site coordinators implement the surveys, ensuring that all site coordinators are trained and understand the implementation process.
MacDougall’s work also involves developing and maintaining databases to manage, present and organize information and data for various projects. In addition, she frequently reviews and codes research data and documents.
She received a BS in liberal arts with a concentration in legal ethics from Salem State University.
Hannah Persson is a Research Assistant with both the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center and WestEd.
As part of her Justice & Prevention Research Center work, Persson conducts data collection and analyses for an Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention-funded project that is developing and testing Juvenile Drug Court Guidelines.
Persson previously assisted with a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded policy scan of restorative justice programs in schools. She also worked on a multi-site randomized trial of a teen pregnancy prevention program where she helped with retention calls and site coordination.
She received a BA, with double majors in psychology and political science, from Westfield State University.
Alexis Stern is a Research Associate who will be working out of the WestEd Washington, DC office.
Her current responsibilities include contributing to project management, writing, survey development, analysis, and interview support for school climate, school safety, and juvenile justice projects. She is currently part of a research team developing case studies of juvenile detention reform in four U.S. states. She is also helping to support a study of a framework for school-based law enforcement in Texas.
Before joining WestEd staff in 2017, Alexis worked for a community grantmaker in Rhode Island, where her work focused on community facilitation and state-level advocacy in the fields of adult basic education and workforce development.
Ms. Stern has a master’s degree in Urban Education Policy from Brown University.
Darius D. Taylor is a Research Assistant with the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center.
Mr. Taylor historically has concentrated his academic and research experience within the fields of behavioral health, chronic disease epidemiology and biostatistics. He brings to the JPRC team a sound quantitative background and passion for change within the fields of education, justice, health and social action.
While at WestEd, Darius has supported a Multi-State Youth Pregnancy Prevention Program and the Keeping Kids in School Program in California. Other notable work includes his support of the NIJ funded Capturing Kids Hearts Initiative based in South Carolina and monitoring for the Nation’s Charter School Program (contracted with the Department of Education) which allowed for him to hone in on more qualitative skills through in-depth interviews, survey coordination and administration.
Mr. Taylor has a master’s degree in Epidemiology from the University of North Texas and currently enrolled as a doctoral student with a concentration in Research, Educational Measurement, Psychometrics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
The Center has an extensive network of external research partners, with a number of ongoing and completed projects through these valuable partnerships. The following is a sample of our partners and collaborative work.
- American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Center researchers collaborate with AIR on a number of projects related to justice and urban violence prevention. AIR researchers we’ve worked with express a mission that aligns with a key Center goal of building evidence-based knowledge through rigorous research.
Analytica, a small business providing methodological expertise, is collaborating with the Center and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Project on a guide for school districts to help them understand their disciplinary data. Analytica is also collaborating with the Center on a large-scale randomized trial of a teen pregnancy prevention program.
- Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University (CEBCP)
Center Director Anthony Petrosino holds an appointment as Senior Research Fellow at CEBCP. Petrosino and his Center colleagues collaborated with CEBCP on a successful Congressional Briefing on School Safety in February 2015. CEBCP is also collaborating with the Center on the study led by AIR to develop and test new guidelines for juvenile drug courts.
- Education Development Center (EDC)
Center researchers have established a strong and sustained relationship with EDC researchers and program staff over the years, most notably through their work as external evaluators on a six-year study of a teen pregnancy prevention program for Latino youth across four cities.
- Miami-Dade County Public Schools
The fourth largest school district in the United States, Miami-Dade (FL) County Public Schools is the lead for the National Institute of Justice-funded study of Campus Shield, with collaboration from the Center, WestEd’s Evaluation Research Program, and the Police Foundation.
- No Bully System
The Center and WestEd’s Health & Human Development Program have collaborated with the No Bully System for a number of years. Currently, they’re working together on a National Institute of Justice-funded project to study a bullying prevention and intervention program among elementary schools in Oakland, CA.
- Oakland Unified School District
The Center and WestEd’s Health and Human Development Program are collaborating with the No Bully System to conduct a study of a bullying prevention and intervention program in the Oakland (CA) Unified School District.
- Peabody Research Institute at Vanderbilt University (PRI)
The Center is collaborating with PRI on a project led by AIR to develop a new set of guidelines for juvenile drug courts.
- Police Foundation
Center researchers are collaborating with the Evaluation Research Program at WestEd and the Police Foundation on a randomized study of Campus Shield, a school safety intelligence fusion center, in Miami, FL.
- UCLA Project on Civil Rights
Center researchers and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Project on Civil Rights have a shared vision to increase understanding of disparity in discipline of students by conducting transparent, accurate, and reliable reporting of disciplinary data in school districts across the United States. Currently, the duo is working on a guide for districts to analyze discipline and offense data at the local level.