Wilson Center for Science and Justice
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Bringing Empirical Research
to Criminal Justice Reform
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Wilson Center for Science and Justice

The Wilson Center for Science and Justice at Duke Law School has a mission of advancing criminal justice reform and civil rights through the application of interdisciplinary legal and scientific research.

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Areas of Focus

Accuracy of Evidence in Criminal Cases

The thousands of exonerated people who were wrongfully convicted represent a wider failure of the criminal system to accurately investigate criminal cases. The Center conducts research to improve the accuracy of evidence used in criminal cases. We identify better ways for police to collect eyewitness, confession, forensic, and other evidence, and we enhance the ability of judges, lawyers, and jurors to understand evidence presented in court.

Equity in Criminal Outcomes

Structural inequity in the criminal system occurs at all levels, including stops, arrests, pre-trial release, sentencing, and collateral consequences. Criminal outcomes are often unfairly driven by invidious factors, including race and poverty. We have unpacked race disparities at all levels of the system, studied unfair and arbitrary uses of discretion, evaluated the uses of risk assessment, and we continue to work collaboratively to reform systems, such as bail, in a range of jurisdictions.

Behavioral Health Needs

Many individuals caught up in the criminal and civil systems have mental health or substance abuse disorders. For these individuals, improvement in long-term clinical outcomes and reduction in justice system involvement requires effective interventions at each stage of interaction with authorities. The Behavioral Health Core, an interdisciplinary team of distinguished researchers, study the affected individuals within their social environment with the goal of reforming the public systems they encounter.

Our Team

Our Team

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Research

Research

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Publications

Publications

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Events

Events

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