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Research at ACE! focuses on the criminal justice, juvenile justice, and healthcare systems, primarily in the US. We are fortunate to have received funding from a number of sources, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Justice, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

When we develop research projects, we look beyond the “usual suspects” and reach across departments, disciplines, and institutions to find the best and most innovative partners. We work to actively engage practitioners and policy makers in our research. Our projects include not just asking what works, but also testing utilization enhancers that help us examine how a program works, and what an agency needs to do to implement that program. Many of our studies focus on implementation, program, and organizational change outcomes.
Current Projects
Completed Projects
Public Health Research
Adult & Juvenile Corrections Research
Organization Change Research
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Risk, Need, Responsivity (R-N-R)

This project, funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Public Welfare Foundation, has developed a web-based RNR Simulation Tool to assist local, state, and/or federal agencies in using the risk-need-responsivity approach in practice. Learn More.
soaring SOARING 2

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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Motivational Assistance Program to Initiate Treatment (MAPIT)


In this National Institute on Drug Abuse funded project, ACE! is working with Dr. Scott Walters and research staff at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. 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. This is a randomized, multi-site experiment that captures outcomes throughout the probation process and as such, will follow each probationer over a 12-month period. As part of this study, we also analyze data on cost as well. Learn More.


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STRIDE: Seek, Test, Treat, Retain

In this project, Seek, Test, Treat, Retain in Washington, DC, ACE! is working with the Yale School of Medicine and Howard University to conduct a randomized controlled trial of buprenorphine. We are working with DC Pretrial Services and Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency to recruit pretrial defendants who are opioid-dependent and HIV-positive to test buprenorphine plus counseling versus counseling without medication-assisted treatment. Learn more.

Your Own Reentry System (YOURS!)


Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, YOURS seeks to better understand the complex issues that community supervision officers face in monitoring compliance with conditions of release and develop strategies to better engage offenders in their own case planning and compliance management. The project augments existing supervision processes and practices while emphasizing offender involvement in and management of their own behavior. ACE! is proud to work with both the Virginia and Maryland Departments of Corrections on this project.

Evidence Based Practices in Corrections: Maryland Division of Parole and Probation

The Pre-Release Centers of Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) are transforming from prison-based to community-based facilities. GMU is evaluating the organizational change processes as this agency transforms its pre-release facilities from prison-based to community-based.

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Evidence Mapping to Advance Justice Practices (EMTAP)

The goal of this project is to create a synthesis of evidence in the area of justice health. We are creating a matrix model that will illustrate effective practices and show where gaps in the research lie. This tool, which is still in development, will assist policymakers in determining areas where additional study is needed, which will be a valuable tool in allocating research funding and developing RFPs. For more information, visit the EMTAP Study Page.

Virginia Department of Corrections

The VA-DOC is moving forward with evidence-based practice (EBP) implementation throughout community corrections. To do so, the VA-DOC team and Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!) researchers (Drs. Faye Taxman and Danielle Rudes) conducted several strategic planning sessions to: 1) consider which components of EBP supervision are most important; 2) identify the organizational steps needed to advance EBP implementation; 3) discuss ways of providing a balanced approach to offender supervision across the districts and build the infrastructure to support EBP implementation, and 4) outline an aggressive plan to move all 43 districts forward. At present, ACE! researchers are developing a survey instrument to collect data on organizational readiness for change, organizational culture, knowledge and acceptance of EBPs and the like from VA's community corrections' officers, supervisors and staff. This information will provide a valuable look inside these influential reentry organizations while helping both ACE! and the VA-DOC decide on next steps for EBP implementation and sustainability.



Fairfax Juvenile Probation Project

George Mason University is beginning a research project with the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court looking at how evidence-based policies (EBPs) are implemented within the agency. The goal is to understand what EBPs are implemented, how well they are implemented and what factors are needed to improve the overall alignment of the EBP into the Court Services Unit (CSU) context to achieve the desired outcomes. The study outcomes will help the local CSU to continue to improve the quality and effectiveness of services. It also provides value to the Department of Juvenile Justice since many state operated court service units have made similar changes and may require similar fidelity assessments. 


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