Dr. Todd Armstrong joined the Fellows of the Academy of Experimental Criminology (AEC). The AEC recognized distinguished scholars who have successful led randomized, controlled or field experiments in criminology.
Dr. Armstrong, an Associate Professor at the College of Criminal Justice, was elected to the elite group of 30 scholars worldwide and was installed on Nov. 16 during the annual meeting of American Society of Criminology. The Fellows include representatives from colleges and professional organizations across the world.
“It was a great honor to be elected Fellow of the Academy of Experimental Criminology in large part because of my regard for those that have been elected before me, but also because I believe in the mission of the Academy,” Dr. Armstrong said. “The Academy recognizes scholars that have conducted randomized, controlled trials in the evaluation of programs and policies related to criminal justice and criminology.”
The Academy of Experimental Criminology was founded in 1998 in order to advance the development of experimental criminology. It seeks to increase awareness of randomized experiments in crime and justice and to aid in the improvement of experimental methods in criminology. The Academy also supports the Journal of Experimental Criminology, which publishes major advances in criminology and its methods through field experimentation, as well as quasi-experiments and other forms of research involving systematic manipulation of social or other variables.
Dr. Armstrong joined the faculty of Sam Houston State University in the Fall 2007. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice and his B.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park. He previously taught at Southern Illinois University and Arizona State University as an Assistant Professor.
In 2003, Dr. Armstrong was awarded the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Anderson Paper Award and the ASU West Partnership for Community Development Faculty Fellowship in 2001. He also received the Young Experimental Scholar Award from the Academy of Experimental Criminology in 2007. His work has appeared in Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Justice Quarterly, Crime and Delinquency, and Journal of School Violence, among others.
Dr. Armstrong has conducted two randomized controlled trials. The first was an evaluation of the Moral Reconation Therapy Program. This program was implemented in a County Jail in Maryland as a part of a plan to segregate youthful offenders from the general population. For the evaluation, volunteers were randomized into the program or into the general population. Analyses found that the treatment and control groups were not different in terms of recidivism.
More recently, Dr. Armstrong was part of a team that used a randomized research design to study the impact of the Pre-Release initiative (PRI) in Texas State Jails. For this evaluation volunteers were randomized into either the PRI or a 'treatment as usual' condition. Results showed that there were substantial differences in program effects across the five sites. In some sites there were meaningful differences in recidivism between the treatment and control groups; in other sites these differences were negligible. This study underscores the need to study the organizations and individuals implementing a program or policy in order to better understand the conditions that are necessary for an effective program to be taken to scale.
Dr. Armstrong’s current research interests include criminal justice policy and program evaluation, criminological theory, and biosocial explanations of criminal behavior with an emphasis on genetic risk factors for crime and delinquency.