Ben Mackey

Graduate Research Assistant

Benjamin Mackey is an M.A. student in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society and a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!). In addition to his previous experience as an undergraduate research assistant in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Benjamin has experience serving directly in the field of reentry, where he worked to address the needs of currently-and formerly-incarcerated individuals.
Research interests:

  • Reentry
  • Community supervision
  • Corrections
  • Qualitative methods
  • Survey research

Projects working on:

  1. Developing practice guidelines for community supervision agencies (Dr. Faye Taxman, P.I.; funded by Arnold Ventures);
  2. a national-level evaluation of the Stepping Up Initiative (Dr. Faye Taxman, P.I.; funded by the National Institute of Mental Health)


What is so fascinating about one research project you are working on at ACE!

Working with practitioners and folks involved in the criminal legal system to develop practice guidelines for supervision agencies, I’m constantly fascinated by the areas where perspectives from the two sides align and where they diverge.

How do you think working on ACE! projects will make you a better researcher?

Hands-on work with practitioners and system-impacted folks is always valuable.  It’s very helpful to hear from people on the ground exactly how different policies and practices work (and sometimes don’t!)

If you had to give advise to an agency about evidence-based practices, what would that be.

For me, step 1 will always be to think about the big-picture implications of a practice.  Even if the evidence shows it’s effective at achieving an outcome, it’s important to consider how it actually does so—especially who it may help and who it may harm along the way.