We are pleased to recognize Dr. Brian Johnson's recent award for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Coordination Network (RCN) Grant: Understanding Guilty Pleas, aimed at enhancing the scientific understanding of guilty pleas in criminal courts.
In collaboration with Shawn Bushway (University of Albany), Alison Redlich (University of Albany) and Anne Piehl (Rutgers University), the “Research Coordination Network (RCN): Understanding Guilty Pleas,” is funded by an NSF grant to examine plea bargaining decision-making by defendants, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and members of courtroom workgroups. The RCN provides a vehicle for sharing interdisciplinary insights and stimulating creative new research on an understudied topic of importance. It will facilitate the discussion and dissemination of innovative new approaches to the study of plea-bargaining, encouraging inter-disciplinary collaborations, and building bridges across academic fields of study.
The structure of the RCN consists of three cores:
• The first core, led by economist Anne Morrison Piehl of Rutgers University, is entitled “Prosecutorial Decision Making: Modeling the Process that Generates Plea Bargains” and focuses on the factors that drive prosecution using insight from economics, behavioral economics/psychology, sociology, and political science.
• The second core, led by associate professor of criminal justice Allison Redlich of the University at Albany, is “Defense Decision-Making: Understanding the Defendant’s Role,” which focuses on the perspective of the defendant and the defense attorney.
• The third core, led by associate professor of criminology and criminal justice Brian Johnson of the University of Maryland,is “Workgroup Decision Making: Modeling Organizational Influences,” which focuses on the courtroom workgroup as a social entity with particular attention to methodological challenges in the study of guilty pleas in criminal courts.
The grant will sponsor special sessions at the upcoming 2014 American Society of Criminology meetings in San Francisco, California.