Carrie Pettus, associate professor, executive director and founder of Florida State University’s Institute for Justice Research and Development (IJRD), received the 2022 Social Policy Researcher Award from the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) for her notable research contributions to criminal justice policy reform.
“I am truly honored to be recognized by the social work research community for contributing to policy reform,” Pettus said. “I would be remiss if I did not recognize and thank all of the partners I work with in communities, corrections, policing, prosecution and leaders at the state and national level that use my research to help enact solutions to some of society’s greatest challenges.”
SSWR is an international society of social workers and researchers representing more than 200 universities and institutions. SSWR advances, disseminates and translates research that addresses issues of social work practice and policy to promote a diverse, just and equitable society.
Pettus received the award during the society’s annual conference on Jan. 15th in Washington D.C. Awardees were selected based on their recent contributions to research that influences social policy and improves the lives of marginalized and oppressed populations.
Motivated by her desire to support the well-being of individuals, families and communities disproportionally impacted by the criminal justice system, Pettus conducted research to establish foundational principles of smart decarceration that align with social work ethics and values.
Through the rapid distribution of her research findings in the form of presentations, policy impact briefs and research reports designed specifically for policymakers, Pettus greatly influenced policy reform. Additionally, Pettus co-hosted press conferences with state governors and other leaders to highlight research informing their policy creation, participated in congressional briefings on police reforms and worked on national policy working groups on criminal justice reform and smart decarceration.
Jim Clark, FSU provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs and former dean of the FSU College of Social Work, nominated Pettus for the award.
“Dr. Pettus has positively impacted individual lives, communities and institutions,” Clark said. “She is one of those rare researchers that has transformed moral purpose into effective policy research aimed at achieving actual and significant social policy reform.”
At IJRD, Pettus leads a large team of social scientists across several states who are dedicated to producing effective, sustainable and equitable criminal justice reforms.
For more information on Pettus and the Institute for Justice Research and Development, visit ijrd.csw.fsu.edu.