Derek Kreager is a Liberal Arts Professor of Sociology and Criminology who served as the Director of the Criminal Justice Research Center (CJRC) from July 2017 to June 2021. Dr. Kreager’s research focuses on social networks and criminal/delinquent behavior. Using network theories and methods, he studies how friendships and romantic relationships are associated with risk-taking and crime among adolescent students and adult prisoners. He also looks at how social relationships change over time and their impacts on criminal trajectories and desistance. During his tenure at the CJRC, Derek led several projects focused on the experiences of incarceration and community re-entry. Funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, and National Institutes of Health (NIAAA), these studies examine topics such as (1) inmate social networks, (2) family visitation, (3) community social integration, and (4) prison substance use treatment. These projects spearheaded significant growth in the CJRC’s portfolio of projects and affiliates and has led to spin-off projects which continue to engage and build center affiliates.
The Pennsylvania State University, College of the Liberal Arts, recognized Dr. Kreager in 2018 with an award for a fifth external grant and in 2017 with an award for eleven consecutive years of external funding. Derek is the recipient of the 2013 Mitchell Prize for Outstanding Bayesian Statistics Article: “Modeling Criminal Careers as Departures from a Unimodal Population Age-Crime Curve: The Case of Marijuana Use” (with Telesca, Erosheva, and Matsueda), the 2011 Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholars Award, American Society of Criminology, and the 2010-11 Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellowship, University of Texas Sociology Department and Population Research Center.