Jennifer’s research interests include juvenile delinquency, prison culture, female gang members and desistance. She aims to identify alternative programs to incarceration for juvenile offenders and to expand the understanding of the prison culture in order to develop prison management policies. Being a former gang member, Ms. Ortiz would like to explore the female narrative and develop an understanding of female gang membership that will allow for the development of programs aimed at reducing female gang membership. Lastly, Ms. Ortiz wants to discover the changes over offender life-courses that lead to desistance. Her goal is to use her research to suggest better reentry programs that may lead to desistance.
Currently, Ms. Ortiz is working on two research projects aimed at analyzing juvenile realignment to community treatment in lieu of incarceration. For more information on these projects please visit the following links:
New York Community Trust project: http://johnjayresearch.org/projects/nyct2011
Annie E. Casey Foundation project: http://johnjayresearch.org/projects/aecf2011/
Recently, Ms. Ortiz acquired a position within the New York State Sentencing Commission. She is currently compiling data for a report on the impact of determinate sentencing structures on prison populations. This report will form the basis for reevaluating and restructuring New York State’s criminal sentencing statutes.
In addition, Ms. Ortiz is currently developing a survey design that will be used to evaluate a treatment program in Nassau and Suffolk County Correctional Facilities known as HerStory. Information about the HerStory project is available on their website: