Professor Danielle Harris Receives Guggenheim Grant for Research on Sexual Offending

by Danielle Harris

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation has approved a grant in the amount of $36,000 to Justice Studies Assistant Professor Danielle Harris for her project entitled “Desistance  from sexual offending across the life course: A multimethod approach.” The study will explore the process of desistance from sexual offending in a sample of 100 men convicted of sexual offenses, referred for civil commitment and released from custody through a gradual release program. The specific program in question operated in Massachusetts from 1974 through 1991 and provided civilly committed sex offenders with an opportunity to gradually adapt to living in the community with authorized absences and periods of supervised community access. She and her colleagues plan to follow up approximately equal numbers of recidivists and desisters. Recidivists will have been released and subsequently reconvicted for a sexual crime (and will be interviewed in custody). Desisters will have been released and not subsequently reconvicted (and will be interviewed in the community).

The post-release experiences of risk and protective factors will be examined, paying particular attention to the variables previously identified in three established theories of desistance: natural desistance; cognitive transformation; and informal social control. Consistent with a pilot study that Professor Harris conducted using a CASA Incentive Grant last year, she will conduct qualitative narrative analysis to explore the presence of themes of desistance that have previously been identified in nonsexual offenders as well as emergent themes unique to this particular sample. She hopes to build on previous results that have underscored the relevance of natural desistance for a small group and the importance of cognitive transformation within the context of treatment for a majority of participants. Additional emergent themes so far include the negative impact of recent policies on participants’ ability to find accommodation, employment, and relationships.

She has previously coded the clinical and criminal files of all participants and is in the process of locating them in the greater Boston area. She will return to Boston during the summer to conduct interviews and administer the MIDSA (Multidimensional Inventory of Development, Sex, and Aggression) to each participant.

In addition to her research, Professor Harris is actively involved in the SJSU Record Clearance Project, where she engages students in assisting eligible people to clear their criminal records. She also teaches a number of key course in Justice Studies.

Professor Harris received her doctorate in Criminology in 2008 from Griffith University, Australia. Prior to that, she completed a Masters degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland (College Park) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Justice Studies (with Honors) at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane and the University of Westminster, London. Her research interests include many aspects of sexual offending: specialization and versatility; the criminal career paradigm; desistance; female sexual offending; and related public policy. Dr Harris is the Director of Research for the Art of Yoga Project, a nonprofit organization that provides a yoga and creative arts curriculum to girls in custody.

Professor Harris’ work on sexual offending is a powerful example of the important research being conducted in the Justice Studies Department at SJSU; research that not only moves forward theory and practice, but that also has real relevance to marginalized communities and that helps in our collective efforts to achieve social justice through scholarship.

Information about Guggenheim Research Grants can be found here.

Information about the Massachusetts Sex Offender Program can be found here.

Information about the Art of Yoga Project can be found here.

More information about Dr. Harris and this prestigious research award can be found here.

Selected Publications

Harris, D. A., Knight, R. A., Dennison, & S., Smallbone, S. (2011). Post release specialization and versatility in sexual offenders referred for civil commitment. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 23(2), 243-259.

Harris, D. A., & Fitton, M. L. (2010). The art of yoga project: a yoga and creative arts curriculum for girls in custody. International Journal of Yoga Therapy.

CFD Updates: Conversations, Breakfast Club, & Grant Writing

by Amy Strage, CFD

Collegial Conversations
This Wednesday, March 6th, from 3-4pm, in IRC 210, as part of our Tea and Talk series, please come join your colleague, Professor Gale Antokal, from the Department of Art, as she leads us in a conversation about The Parameters of Imagination and Fact in the Act of Drawing. She will present 40 recent works depicting one simple still life object, as well as provide an investigation of form, color, realism and abstraction in the medium of chalk pastel.

In two weeks, on Thursday, March 14th, from 8-9am, in IRC 101, as part of our Breakfast Club series, please come join your colleague Professor Sami Khuri, as he leads us in conversation about The Long and Bumpy Road from the Human Genome Project to Personalized Medicine as well as other aspects of his fascinating work in Bioinformatics.

Grant-writing: Next Monday, March 11th, please join the expert staff of the SJSU Research Foundation, and learn from AASC&U Grants Resource Center Director Richard Dunfee about the Federal Funding Landscape – MLK Jr. Library, Room 225/229, from 9 am to 12 noon. Please RSVP to Nancy Riley (

Heads-up about two Internal Grant Opportunities: The Office of the Provost will be announcing two exciting internal funding opportunities – for research, scholarship and creative activity (RSCA grants) and for innovative teaching and course (re)design. Details about application particulars will be announced shortly – proposal materials will be due in early April.

Check out the Center for Faculty Development calendar of events and take a few moments to peruse the teaching tools and events the Cathy Cheal and her team in Academic Technology are offering as well.

2013/2014 Sally Casanova California Pre-Doctoral Scholarship Program Available Now

by Office of the Provost, SJSU

Application forms for the 2013/2014 Sally Casanova California Pre-Doctoral Scholarship Program are now available.  Please share this information with eligible students.  Each pre-doctoral award is for $3,000.  The California Pre-Doctoral Program is designed to increase the diversity of the pool of potential faculty by supporting the doctoral aspirations of diverse CSU students.  Each of the selected pre-doctoral scholars works closely with a CSU faculty sponsor to develop overall plans leading ultimately to enrollment in a doctoral program.  Each plan is tailored to the specific goals and educational objectives of the student.  A committee of faculty from the CSU and the University of California selects students to receive the awards.  It is a one-time award; current or former Pre-Doctoral Scholar Program recipients are not eligible to apply.

To be eligible to receive funds, applicants must be enrolled at SJSU during both the application period (Spring 2013) and at least one term of the following academic year (2013-2014).  Students who are likely to be admitted to doctoral programs that begin in Fall 2013 should be discouraged from applying.

Junior, senior, and graduate students in the CSU, especially those from groups underrepresented in their fields, receive funding for visits to Ph.D.-granting institutions to explore opportunities for doctoral study, for travel to national symposia or professional meetings, for membership in professional organizations, for journal subscriptions, and for graduate school application and test fees.  In addition, those who receive pre-doctoral awards are eligible to participate in a fully funded summer research internship at a doctoral-granting campus.

Applications and faculty sponsor forms may be obtained online at  Students must obtain transcripts from all undergraduate institutions they have attended.  Applicants are expected to assemble and submit in full the entire application packet in the correct order and with all necessary parts, unstapled and single-sided.  The campus deadline for completed applications and faculty sponsor forms is Monday, March 18, 2013.  Please submit all materials to the Office of Graduate Studies & Research in ADM 223B on or before that date. An additional form, the California Pre-doctoral Program Permission to Publish, obtained online at, must also be submitted.  If you have any questions, please contact our office at 924-2485 or via email at