Faculty Research

Professor Gennaro F. Vito, Professor George E Higgins and Anthony G. VitoTracking Capital Homicide Cases in Jefferson County, KY 2000-2010; published in the American Journal of Criminal Justice, the Journal of the Southern Criminal Justice Association; received and accepted April 2013 ; ISSN 1066-2316; Am J Crim Just DOI 10.1007/s12103-013-9209-3.  The final publication is available at link.springer.com

Abstract: In 1998, Kentucky’s adopted the Racial Justice Act (RJA). The key sponsor of the law, Kentucky Senator Gerald Neal asserted that it was not a result of whether you were for or against the death penalty but “whether the death penalty should be subject to the same standards of nondiscrimination as any other institution in our state.” However, one noted negative effect of the RJA is that prosecutors have adopted policies to seek the death penalty in every eligible case, rather than making this decision on a case-by-case basis. This study examines the outcome of such policies in Jefferson County, Kentucky from 2000 to 2010.


Professors Gennaro F. Vito,  Geetha Suresh and George E. Richards; Emphasizing the servant in public service; the opinions of police managers; published in Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Managment;  PIJPSM  34,4  674; accepted November 2010.

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to determine the opinion of 126 police managers from 23 US states regarding their ideal leadership style as expressed under items of the leader behavior description questionaire (LBDQ).


Professors George E. Higgins, Gennaro F. Vito, and Elizabeth L. Grossi, The Impact of Race on the Police Decision to Search During a Traffic Stop: A Focal Concerns Theory Perspective; published in the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice  2012 28: 166 originally published online 4 December 2011; DOI: 10.1177/1043986211425725

The online version of this article can be found at: http://ccj.sagepub.com/content/28/2/166

Abstract: Racial profiling is an important issue in contemporary policing. Research in this area, especially in the decision to search, has relied on an outcomes test and correlates that are largely devoid of theory. Thus, the research is unable to provide a clear understanding of police decision making during a traffic stop. The purpose of the present study was to examine this process. Using data from more than 36,000 traffic stops from Louisville, KY, the present study applies the focal concerns theory to this decision-making process. The research results indicate that blameworthiness is the primary reason that searches are performed for the entire sample of traffic stops as well as those for the Black and White subsamples.

Professor Gennaro F. Vito, Professor George E Higgins and Anthony G. VitoCapital Sentencing in Kentucky 2000-2010; published in the American Journal of Criminal Justice, the Journal of the Southern Criminal Justice Association; received and accepted June 2014 ; ISSN 1066-2316 Vol 38 Number 4; Am J Crim Just (2014) 39:753 770 DOI 10.1007/s12103 014 9258 2.  The final publication is available at link.springer.com

Abstract : The current study attempts to build upon previous analyses of capital sentencing in Kentucky and other states. Using data compiled from official court records compiled by the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, we examined death eligible homicide cases for the years 2000–2010 for the state (N=359). Multivariate analysis determined that the death penalty in Kentucky was sought 3.17 times or 217 % more when the victim is female. It also found that cases featuring a black defendant and a white victim were 56 % less likely to result in a plea than cases featuring other defendant/victim racial combinations. Despite legal requirements, Kentucky fails to collect data to assess the factors that influence the seeking and imposition of the death penalty.


Professor Deborah Keeling, Justice Administration, with LMPD released the findings from the "Vehicle Stops Report" that she prepared for the police department at Chief Steve Conrad’s request. This report was an analysis of a year’s worth of Louisville Metro Police traffic stops. The report was the fourth she has done for LMPD since 2004 but the first released publicly. See the full report and associated story at WFPL’s website. See more coverage on the WDRB, WLKY, and The Courier-Journal websites.




Prof. George E. Higgins, Department of Justice Administration, has been ranked 4th Worldwide in Scholarly Publications among Criminologists; see Ellen G. Cohn & David P. Farrington, Publication Productivity among Criminologists, Journal of Criminal Justice Education, (2014), Vol. 25, No. 3, p275-303.



As social networking continues to evolve and expand, the opportunities for deviant and criminal behavior have multiplied. Social Networking as a Criminal Enterprise explores how new avenues for social networking criminality have affected our criminal justice system.

Published:  April 28, 2014 by CRC Press
Editor(s):  Catherine D. Marcum, George E. Higgins



Research on the Criminogenic Impact of Sexually Oriented Businesses (SOBs)

Professors Eric McCord and Richard Tewksbury recently completed a study examining the criminogenic impact of sexually oriented businesses (SOBs).  The study resulted in two scholarly articles (McCord & Tewksbury, 2013; Tewksbury & McCord, 2012) that have strong policy implications and are being utilized nationwide by city officials and their legal staffs to justify more comprehensive regulation of these industries. Even the non-scholar public media has picked up on the study and reported its results.

Both professors are associated with Secondary Effects Research, a group of university-affiliated social scientists who conduct research on the crime and disorder impacts of sexually oriented businesses.


Harry E.Allen , Bruce Ponder and Edward J. Latessa, CORRECTIONS IN AMERICA, 13th edition (2013). This is the longest continually published textbook in the field of corrections. At work on the 14th edition. Corrections in America has been the best-selling text in the field since the 1970s. The 13th edition continues its established tradition of comprehensive, student-friendly coverage with extensive supplemental material. It covers virtually all aspects of corrections, including its history, prisons in the present, correctional ideologies, sentencing and legal issues, alternatives to imprisonment, institutional corrections, and correctional clients.



Researchers from the UK College of Pharmacy’s Institute for Pharmacy Outcomes and Policy (IPOP) received a two-year, $363,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice to study prescription drug monitoring programs. Faculty members Karen Blumenschein, Trish Freeman and Jeff Talbert are collaborating with co-investigators Gennaro Vito and George Higgins from the University of Louisville Department of Justice Administration on the project, which is entitled “Optimizing Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs to Support Law Enforcement Activity".


Patterns of Victimization Between and Within Peer Clusters in a High School Social Network


Kristin Swartz, Ph.D; Bradford W. Reyns, Ph.D.; Pamela Wilcox, Ph.D & Jessica R.Dunham, MS

Abstract: This study presents a descriptive analysis of patterns of violent victimization between and within the various cohesive clusters of peers comprising a sample of more than 500 9th–12th grade students from one high school. Social network analysis techniques provide a visualization of the overall friendship network structure and allow for the examination of variation in victimization across the various peer clusters within the larger network. Social relationships among clusters with varying levels of victimization are also illustrated so as to provide a sense of possible spatial clustering or diffusion of victimization across proximal peer clusters. Additionally, to provide a sense of the sorts of peer clusters that support (or do not support) victimization, characteristics of clusters at both the high and low ends of the victimization scale are discussed. Finally, several of the peer clusters at both the high and low ends of the victimization continuum are “unpacked,”  allowing examination of within-network individual-level differences in victimization for these select clusters.


Professor Gennaro F. Vito has received two research grants recently. The first is from the Proteus Foundation to continue the study of capital sentencing in Kentucky in conjunction with the American Bar Association. The second study will begin in 2013, funded by the National Institute of Justice in conjunction with the University of Kentucky School of Pharmacy is a multi-state analysis of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). Professor George Higgins is a co-principal investigator on both grants. Here is a sample of Dr. Vito’s most recent publications:Vito, A.G. & Vito, G.F. (forthcoming). “Lessons for Policing from Moneyball: The Views of Police Managers – A Research Note.” American Journal of Criminal Justice.

Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball demonstrates how Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane used research evidence to improve his team’s performance in a cost-effective manner. This presentation focuses upon the responses of police managers attending the Administrative Officer’s Course in the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville. The respondents identified three elements of Moneyball that could be applied to police management: 1) using statistical analysis to guide operations, 2) challenging the status quo, and 3) doing more with less.


“Characteristics of Parole Violators in Kentucky.”  Federal Probation, Vol. 76, No. 1. The data for the present study comes from the Kentucky Department of Correction’s (KDOC) official reports on offenders from July 2002 to December 2004. The data for this study are drawn from offenders paroled during this 30-month period. This resulted in a sample of 10,912 offenders. For each offender, data was collected on whether they returned to prison and, if so, the circumstances surrounding their return (i.e., when and for what reason/offense). All parolees were followed for a period of five years post release.