Our Staff
Chris Hartney

Chris Hartney

Senior Researcher

Christopher Hartney is a senior researcher with NCCD. He has worked with the organization since 2001 and has two decades of professional experience in research and statistics. Chris' work at NCCD has been funded by various federal, state, and local government agencies and philanthropic foundations. His most recent work includes the development of a new approach to prison for young adults, emphasizing intensive strengths-based rehabilitative and educational services in small secure facilities. Part of this project is a feasibility assessment of using a Pay for Success mechanism to fund service delivery. Chris’ prior NCCD work has included a national evaluation of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative; bed space needs forecasts for youth tried as adults in Baltimore, Maryland, and for juvenile justice-involved youth following Arkansas system reforms; a review of the causes and impacts of youth deincarceration in California’s youth prison system; a national evaluation of Parents Anonymous; the potential cost savings of alternatives to incarceration for non-serious adult offenders; the validation of a Structured Decision Making® system in Washington, DC; the interplay of media coverage, public sentiment, data trends, and policy making with regard to youth violence in major US cities; and a survey of health care access for system-involved youth in 58 California counties. Chris has authored several NCCD publications documenting disproportionate representation of people of color in the justice system and other issues in justice and corrections, including spotlights on women, Native American youth, youth younger than 18 in the adult corrections system, and international corrections. He is co-author of several peer-reviewed articles and has presented study findings before a variety of professional, governmental, and community groups. Prior to joining NCCD, his research work included educational assessment and health impacts in communities exposed to industrial accidents. Chris has a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and has completed all master’s level coursework in experimental psychology at San Francisco State University.

Recent publications by Chris Hartney:

Christopher Hartney, Senior Researcher, NCCD

The effects of juvenile justice or child welfare system involvement do not end when youth exit those systems; rather, the impact can last years—even a lifetime. Studies have shown that young adults who were involved in the juvenile justice system are at far greater risk than those who were not for many negative outcomes down the road: arrest, substance abuse issues, public assistance dependence, and low educational achievement and income.

Caroline Glesmann, Researcher, NCCD and Chris Hartney, Senior Researcher, NCCD

This post by NCCD's Caroline Glesmann and Chris Hartney, co-authors of our new report "Prison Bed Profiteers: How Corporations Are Reshaping Criminal Justice in the U.S.," is a guest entry for Ella's Voice, Ella Baker Center's online blog.

Christopher Hartney
Caroline Glesmann

Reported crime is at the lowest level in decades, safe alternatives to incarceration are an accepted part of the corrections system, and private prisons have not provided the cost savings and improved conditions of confinement that their proponents promise. Nevertheless, business is booming for prison companies. Since their start in the 1980s, private prisons have come to hold 8% of all U.S. state and federal prisoners, including half of federal immigration detainees. A steady flow of inmates has meant huge profits for these companies. Just as steady have been the reports of abuse and neglect, poor management of inmate needs, and poor governmental oversight.

Pat Arthur
Christopher Hartney

This report is offered to shine a light on the collective efforts underway in Arkansas to transform the state's juvenile justice system. It describes the work that has been done to build reform over the past four years under the steady and skilled stewardship of Ron Angel, Director of the Division of Youth Services (DYS). It also suggests additional changes in policy and practices that might further "revolutionize" youth services, as is called for in the division's strategic reform plan. The first section of the report discusses the state of juvenile justice in Arkansas prior to the start of reform efforts. The second section describes the building blocks of reform, including the architecture of the reform process and the essential elements of specific reform initiatives. The last section provides hypothetical scenarios that suggest some of the ways current practices could be changed in order to further DYS' efforts to safely reduce the number of youth held in secure custody. These scenarios are offered to aid the discussions among Arkansas policymakers and stakeholders about ways to further the goals of reform in the future. 

Christopher Hartney, Senior Researcher, NCCD and Katherine Stanford

Last week the Supreme Court ordered California to address its overcrowded prisons problem by significantly reducing its prison population over a two-year period. The State now has to decide how to safely meet the court's requirements. Fortunately, Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation can draw from various reforms implemented by other large states like New York, Michigan, New Jersey, and Texas to reduce prison populations while improving public safety.

Christopher Hartney
Isami Arifuku

This report describes the National Council on Crime and Delinquency's forecast of future bed space needs for youth detained in the adult criminal justice system in the City of Baltimore, Maryland. These youth are processed and, if necessary, detained in the adult system-currently in the Juvenile Unit of the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC)-after either being charged with certain crimes that require their automatic involvement in the adult justice system (known as an automatic waiver) or being sent to the adult system by a juvenile court judge (known as a judicial waiver). The State is currently considering options for housing these youth, as the present facility is inadequate. A new facility is in the planning stages and is designed to hold 180 youth, based on a forecast completed by the State in 2007. In a 2010 report by NCCD, the earlier forecast was found to overestimate the number of beds needed in a new facility. Subsequently, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections Services (DPS), along with two local foundations, the Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, asked NCCD to perform this new forecast to assist in the decision-making process.

Michelle Ghafar, Zainab Khan, and Christopher Hartney, Senior Researcher, NCCD

At Spotsylvania High School in Virginia, a plastic ball spit through a straw during lunch period resulted in three misdemeanor assault charges and expulsion. The Washington Post reported that a deputy sheriff was called to the scene. The “offending” student will be cleared of the charges only after a year-long diversion program[1]. The student was suspended under the pretext of protecting his schoolmates, but does banishing students from school for such minor offenses really help them, or make schools or communities safer?

Lillian Chen and Christopher Hartney, Senior Researcher, NCCD

Many prisoners enter the justice system economically and occupationally disadvantaged, and incarceration only compounds the challenges they face. National survey data show that most offenders and ex-offenders are high school dropouts and that approximately half of state prisoners are either unemployed or only working part-time before their arrest (Western, 2006). With little or no occupational programming available for inmates, time behind bars is time lost to develop and accumulate valuable skills and work experience.

Christopher Hartney, Senior Researcher, NCCD, Susan Marchionna, and Katie Tang

The levels of disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in the juvenile justice system remain intolerable. Compared to their proportions in the general population, far more youth of color are involved in the system than White youth. (See national DMC figures at Disparity is especially high for African Americans.

Christopher Hartney, Senior Researcher, NCCD and Hunter Smith

On January 25, 2010, Senate Bill 18 x3 took effect, introducing a number of changes to California incarceration and parole policy. This legislation authorizes Non-Revocable Parole (NRP) for offenders who meet certain criteria, raises the minimum dollar value for certain property crimes to qualify as felonies (meaning some low-level property crimes that used to be categorized as felonies are now misdemeanors), and increases the availability of credits that inmates can earn toward earlier release.

Christopher Hartney, Senior Researcher, NCCD

To do their difficult work—indeed, because their work is so difficult—police officers need the support of effective and appropriate policies. However, good intentions and a real or perceived success at crime reduction do not justify a police tactic that violates the law or ethical standards. The New York City Police Department's stop-and-frisk policy and practice may violate both.

Christopher Hartney, Senior Researcher, NCCD

The Census Bureau has taken the first step toward a more accurate way of counting prisoners. Historically the Census has considered prisoners residents of the town in which the prison is located rather than residents of the community where they lived before incarceration. Now, instead of automatically counting them in prison, most of which are located in rural areas, far form the urban centers where prisoners lived and will usually return, states will now be able to decide to not count them at all.