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Hidalgo County, TX Specialty Court Programs
Hidalgo County Community Supervision and Corrections Department is doing amazing work with their Specialty Court programs! Check out this video highlighting the work they are doing.

Building Capacity in Hidalgo County, TX
Hidalgo County, TX Community Supervision and Corrections Department (CSCD) began collaborating with George Mason University’s Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!) in 2012 to implement evidence-based supervision. Through this partnership, CSCD adopted two translational tools: Staff Undertaking Skills to Advance Innovation (SUSTAIN) and the Risk–Need-Responsivity (RNR) Simulation Tool. Since 2014, CSCD has more than doubled the amount of programming available to probationers, greatly expanding their capacity to provide services to their probationers! Check out the results of their hard work here.

Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center Re-entry Dorm Program
Check out this video highlighting the excellent work Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center, or ADC, is doing to help individuals be successful when they are released from jail. As part of this program, they are using the RNR Simulation Tool!

A Conversation with Keramet Reiter on Solitary Confinement in U.S. Prisons
George Mason’s University’s Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!) & the Department of Criminology, Law & Society Proudly Present A Conversation with Keramet Reiter on Solitary Confinement in U.S. Prisons. Keramet Reiter is an Assistant Professor of Criminology, Law & Society at the University of California, Irvine.

This event will take place Monday, November 14th from 11:00am to 12:15pm at the Johnson Center (Fairfax Campus), 334, Meeting Room E.

Download the event flyer.

Jurisdictions Using RNR Simulation Tool

The RNR Simulation Tool is a translational tool to help jurisdictions advance practice in Risk-Need-Responsivity. The toolkit is designed to assist agencies in determining what forms of programming will be most effective in reducing recidivism and improving outcomes within their population. The tool is designed to guide resource allocation and help jurisdictions identify service provision gaps. It is made up of three linkable portals that provide decision-support at the offender, program, and system level: Assess an Individual; RNR Program Tool for Adults; and Assess Jurisdiction's Capacity. Used together, these tools can have a significant impact on recidivism at a system level. Here is a map of jurisdictions that have used some aspect of the toolkit—we are helping organizations put in place RNR principles. Click here to view the toolkit and take a test drive.

ACE! Director Faye Taxman, Deputy Director Danielle S. Rudes and Doctoral Students Teneshia Thurman, Kimberly S. Meyer, and Shannon Magnuson designed a course to help justice agencies use implementation science.

We are working with the Virginia Department of Corrections on this course.

Course materials are derived from materials developed as part of ongoing implementation science work including: 1) Dr. Faye Taxman is doing an Implementation Fellowship with the Bureau of Justice Assistance; and 2) Dr. Rudes has a grant from the National Institute of Justice on looking at implementation science in the adoption of evidenced based practices.

The team presented a session on Implementation Science in Justice Agencies at the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) SmartSuite Summit conference in early September.

For more information on the workshop, please see the Implementation Science in Justice Agencies page. Also email Kimberly Meyer if you would like more information on this course.


Dr. Rudes quoted in U.S. News & World Report


ACE!'s Dr. Danielle Rudes was recently quoted in the U.S. News & World Report article titled Probation for President Hillary Clinton? Here's How it Would Work.

Read the article here.

Dr. Rudes quoted in the Washington Post


Dr. Danielle Rudes was quoted in the Washington Post article titled Reentry groups invest in ex-inmates to break the cycle of crime. Read the article here.

ACE! Researcher Jennifer Lerch along with Bahamas Correctional Services officers and visiting probation and parole experts


Judith Sachwald, Faustino Lopez, and Jennifer Lerch recently presented at the “Sharing experiences on Community Corrections: Probation and Parole Supervision” workshop in Nassau, Bahamas. The Government of the Bahamas and the Inter American Development Bank hosted this workshop aimed at assisting the Bahamian government build a parole system within their criminal justice system. Together with colleagues from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Canada, our team shared from experience and research what works and doesn’t work in community supervision.

Former ACE! GRA Successfully Defends Dissertation

Congratulations to Dr. Erin Crites!

ACE!'s work with the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation


The Maryland Division of Parole and Probation is engaging in research and organizational implementation strategies with the Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!) to align the agency’s mission and goals to achieve public safety with current trends and evidence-based practices in corrections. One focus is on improving the training and professional development of staff. Currently, the ACE! Research Team has been conducting a series of Quality Improvement Work Sessions with the agency’s middle managers.

Designed as an outgrowth of focus groups, training sessions and ethnographic field work over the last three years, the Work Sessions deliver research inspired technical support using the PDSA model (Plan-Do-Study-Act) to assist middle managers in improving the way they localize and implement policies and practices. More specifically, the Work Sessions are designed to: 1) help management staff reflect on past policy implementation and reconstruct implementation channels; 2) empower middle managers to innovate within their own offices and; 3) mentor middle managers to act as “gatekeepers” in policy implementation, both down to front-line staff and up to administrators.

These Work Sessions also involve collaborative activities and challenges, such as drawing processes or building structures, aimed at exploring the hidden assumptions in daily processes and gleaning translatable lessons to workplace management. The picture features two middle managers engaging in one activity the Marshmallow Challenge (for more information on this activity click here).

Deputy Director Danielle Rudes sat on an invited panel for S-CAR (School for Conflict Resolution) on Mason's Arlington Campus on American Justice System and Barriers to Reentry

Silent Auction for a Worthy Cause
On September 19, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU students) and George Mason University (GMU students) are coming together to provide a Social Jazz Event to help fund job training programs and educational opportunities to give an at-risk youth another chance.

To learn more about the event and silent auction, view the flyer here.

ACE! Partners with the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) to examine what factors make a probation agency "ready" to adopt evidence-based practices (EBPs)
ACE! researcher Stephanie Maass has partnered with the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) to examine what factors make a probation agency "ready" to adopt evidence-based practices (EBPs). During this 18-month partnership, ACE! will train over 60 management-level officers at 9 districts to be internal fidelity coaches who monitor and assist officers in using EBPs. To ensure all officers have the same level of knowledge about EBPs, nearly 300 probation officers will also receive training on core correctional practices via an online training platform developed by ACE! (SOARING 3). By understanding what factors make a probation agency ready to adopt EBPs we can work with agencies do build their readiness factors prior to engaging in the adoption process and increase their likelihood of successful implementation of evidence-based practices.

Look for preliminary findings from this and other ACE! projects at this year's American Society of Criminology Annual Conference (see for conference location and details).

Meet our summer 2015 NIDA intern!
Mary Mun is a sophomore at New York University studying Global Public Health and Applied Psychology in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She is from Chantilly, Virginia and was sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Summer Research Program to work at ACE! at George Mason University as a research assistant. Mary worked on the MAPIT project in Baltimore, Maryland with her interest in better serving the community and learning more about human behavior.

Take a look at Mary's presentation to learn more about her work over the summer!

ACE! article among the 10 top-read articles of 2014 from Criminal Justice and Behavior!
Congratulations to Alese Wooditch, Larry Tang (GMU Statistics Department), and Faye!

Their article titled “Which Criminogenic Need Changes Are Most Important in Promoting Desistance From Crime and Substance Use?” was listed as one of CJB’s top-read articles for 2014. As a result, it is Open Access and free for downloading – this means practitioners (and others) without academic journal privileges can access this article!

Congratulations on this important, and well-read, work!

  Welcome to the Center

Collaborative and creative research to advance evidence-based practices

conducts collaborative and creative research to assist policy makers and correctional practitioners with using evidence-based practices and treatments. We work with our partners in crafting new policies focused on preventing criminal behavior instead of simply responding to it.

A conversation with...


John Laub, Ph.D.


Joan Petersilia, Ph.D.

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  Important Downloads  
Advancing Practice: June 2015
When Agencies Partner: Key Components of Positive Supervision and Service Agency Partnerships
Advancing Practice: May 2014
Advancing Practice: October 2013
What are the 5 myths of incarceration? Learn about them here!
"Tools of the Trade: A Guide to Implementing Science Into Practice"
JSTEPS Presentations

VIDEO: In November 2011, Dr. Faye Taxman spoke with VERA Institute of Justice director, Michael Jacobson, about how US corrections systems can adopt practices to help reduce recidivism - a shift that will require substantive and cultural changes.



Interested in Graduate School at GMU?

Here are a few research opportunities for our students. Explore, consider, and discuss exciting research to advance the field of crime and health policies!

studies Learn about our studies

dept Learn about our department

  Spotlight icon Spotlight: ACE! Welcomes Undergraduate Research Assistants  

Working within the framework of George Mason's Students as Scholars Initiative, ACE! hires several Undergraduate Research Assistant positions each semester and over the summer. These positions provide students with insight to life in graduate school, opportunities to work with faculty, and first-hand experience at scholarship inquiry and development within an active criminal justice research center. Undergraduate Research Assistants participate in ACE! orientation and project-specific training and are assigned a graduate student mentor for the duration of their research assistantship. Students are given weekly task lists that outline their project-related duties so as to provide a simple structure to follow. To find out more about this program, please see page 11 of ACE!'s March 2012 publication of Advancing Practice. ACE! is pleased to welcome the following Undergraduate Research Assistants:

Lina Marmolejo is a doctoral student in the Criminology, Law and Society Department at George Mason University. Prior to starting the doctoral program, she worked as a citizen security specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). She has more than a decade of experience managing and designing development projects, with an emphasis on crime prevention in Latin America and the Caribbean. Before working at the IDB, she worked at the Organization of American States (OAS) as a specialist in topics related to the use of Information and Communication Technologies and the modernization process of public institutions. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Institute of Political Studies, Paris (Sciences Po) and a Bachelors on Finance and International Relations) from Universidad Externado de Colombia, Bogota.
  Casey Tabas is a junior at George Mason University, majoring in Criminology Law and Society with a concentration in Homeland Security. Casey’s service to the United States Navy encouraged her to dedicate herself to working with the intelligence community to protect her country and others. Casey is interested in the Together Alone summer research project because she is interested to learn if there are positive aspects of solitary confinement and, if so, how can they be used to help inmates. By the end of the project, she hopes to have a greater understanding of prison culture and prisoners’ experiences, of which she is not currently familiar. Casey hopes the Together Alone summer research project will help her hone her research skills, and help her better understand prisoners and their communities. She believes the skills she will learn participating in the Together Alone summer project will help her achieve her goal of becoming an intelligence analyst.
Elizabeth Rosen is a rising sophomore at George Mason University, majoring in Criminology, Law, and Society with a minor in Forensic Psychology. She first became passionate about criminology through her love for reading. Elizabeth was interested in joining the Together Alone summer research project because of her interest in corrections, which was sparked after a prison visit. She hopes to gain an objective understanding of life in prison from the perspectives of both inmates and correctional officials. This will help Elizabeth in the future by giving her invaluable field experience with the population of those incarcerated in solitary confinement, to take with her when she (hopefully) works in the Violent Crimes Division of the FBI.
Kaley Regner is a junior majoring in criminology, law and society with a concentration in criminal justice and minors in forensic science and forensic psychology. Her interest in criminology dates to the first grade when a neighbor shared with her the details of a neighborhood crime which led her to a long childhood of being fearful of “bad guys.” As she became older, this childhood fear encouraged her to be passionate about pursue educational studies that would one day allow her a career helping kids and others feel safe. During one of her criminology classes, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Rudes spoke about corrections specifically and helped to humanize “bad guys” in a new and foreign way. As a result, when Kaley learned of the Together Alone project led by Dr. Rudes she was immediately excited about it. She believes this project will help her future career by providing her with experience in correctional setting and with applied research. She believes this experience of participating in research and visiting correctional facilities and learning about the criminal justice system in general will help provide clarity for future professional directions.
Karlie Berry is junior majoring in Criminology, Law and Society, while double minoring in Forensic Psychology and Intelligence Analysis with a concentration in Criminal Justice. Although, she has had previous research experience working with ACE! and Dr. Rudes, she is excited to join the Together Alone summer research project as it will provide her an excellent opportunity to expand her knowledge about different aspects of the criminal justice system. She hopes to learn more about the effects of solitary confinement on not only inmates, but on the staff working in these units. This summer project will allow her to increase her awareness and understanding about all people involved with corrections as well as develop skills and techniques valuable to a career within the field.
Liana Shivers is a junior majoring in Global Affairs. Following a high school experience that talked very little about global events, she chose Global Affairs to learn more about the world. Through these courses, she developed a passion for investigating social problems and learning about how they may be improved to better society. Together Alone grabbed her attention because it explores an aspect of societal improvement by investigating prisons. She hopes the research project will provide an in-depth perspective on the US prison system and help inspire her to ask new and exciting multidisciplinary questions regarding social problems.
Sabrine Baiou is a senior at George Mason University, majoring in psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology and a minor in anthropology. Sabrine’s interest in understanding what makes us who we are led her to these fields of study. She is excited to be working with Together Alone summer research project because she wants to learn more about the psychological impacts of solitary confinement while also gaining a greater understanding of the research process. While Sabrine is open to all career opportunities, she hopes her experience with this project will help her in her studies and give her insights for where to go next.
  Current Projects icon Current Projects View all projects

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ACE! is working with Ralph Serin of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada on a new project funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. In this study, we are developing tools to assist correctional agencies in translating research into practice and to train agencies in evidence-based practices.

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Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR)

A project funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, where we are working to develop a RNR Simulation Tool to assist agencies to use the risk-need-responsivity approach in practice through defining the type and nature of correctional options available in their jurisdictions.

Learn More


MAPIT examines the impact that In-Person Motivational Interviewing (MI) versus a Motivational Computer Program (MC) has on probationers outcomes with court determined drug and alcohol conditions as compared to standard probation.
  ACE! Leadership View all ACE! members

Photo of Dr. Faye Taxman

Dr. Faye Taxman

ACE! Director Dr. Faye Taxman is a methodologist specializing in randomized trials and interventions for individuals involved in the criminal justice system. She is recognized for her work in the development of the seamless systems of care models that link the criminal justice with other service delivery systems. Faye is a leader in translational research and has developed numerous tools that advance the field.

Photo of Dr. Danielle Rudes

Dr. Danielle Rudes

ACE! Deputy Director Dr. Daniell Rudes' research falls at the nexus of organizational theory and socio-legal studies where she is broadly interested in understanding how street-level workers negotiate organizational change and the impact their decisions have upon policy and practice. Danielle is involved in qualitative fieldwork and data collection examining various aspects of organizational change among police in Trinidad, among Federal Drug Court work-groups, and with correctional officers in Maryland.

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