The National Institute of Health has awarded an Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) grant to Kean University for a 3-year research project to study how exposure to the criminal justice system influences substance use during the transition from adolescence to early adulthood. Dr. Connie Hassett-Walker, Assistant Professor in the School of Criminal Justice and Public Administration, will be heading the study.
The relationship of substance use to justice system involvement is of critical concern to public health. Dr. Hassett-Walker’s study focuses on identifying factors which increase and decrease youths’ initiation into substance use during and/or after their involvement with the justice system. Dr. Walker hopes that her findings can provide a basis for more effective interventions and a deeper understanding of the racial and economic disparities which impact both substance use and justice system involvement.
Dr. Hassett-Walker has assembled a team of researchers for this project including Dr. Gilbert Gee from the University of California, Los Angeles, and Drs. Katrina Walsemann and Bethany Bell from the University of South Carolina. Kean students will participate with Dr. Hassett-Walker in research related to the proposed study, probing the intersection between public health and criminal justice. Student participants will present their findings at Kean Research Day and various professional conferences.