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UNG student researchers present at Criminal Justice conference

Criminal Justice Conference
UNG students Ashley Rodriguez (left) and Austin O'Neil (right) present at the annual Criminal Justice Association of Georgia conference with support from their faculty mentor Dr. John Stuart Batchelder (center).

Senior criminal justice majors Austin O'Neill and Ashley Rodriguez presented their research as University of North Georgia (UNG) representatives at the annual meeting of the Criminal Justice Association of Georgia in October at Clayton State University in Morrow.

 O'Neill presented his research paper, titled "GED Programs in Prison – Trial and Error," which explored and analyzed the barriers that face inmates who try to obtain a General Education Diploma (GED) while incarcerated.

According to O'Neill, "These obstacles prevent inmates from obtaining the education that is necessary for proper rehabilitation. It is by examining the research, and presenting on these barriers, we hope to provide information to administrators who can refine and create better education programs for prisoners."

Rodriguez's research took a political focus with her paper titled "Community Oriented Policing:  Surrendering to Changing Political Priorities." It highlighted the withdrawal from community-oriented law enforcement policies towards a paramilitary style of policing.

"This can be seen as being more of a hindrance to law enforcement and the fight against terrorism, than as a beneficial change," Rodriquez said. "This paper illustrates the benefits of community-oriented policing in counter-terrorism efforts. Its purpose was to advocate for a coordination of efforts between local law-enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security as a solution to terrorism in post 9/11 United States."

The student's faculty mentor, Dr. John Stuart Batchelder, professor of criminal justice, commented on the perks of helping student researchers publish their work saying, "Directing undergraduate research is probably the most gratifying aspect of our profession. They are learning to conduct research as an advancement to their education, and they get the experience of presenting their findings in a professional setting."

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