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Community Partnerships: Wolfer Honors the Muddle

A community commitment nearly always guarantees some disarray, but Loreen Wolfer, Ph.D., professor of sociology, criminal justice and criminology, is among those who welcome and honor the muddle, now being relieved, in part, by the new office. CBL “does get challenging, complicated and messy,” Dr. Wolfer said. But the real world itself is messy, which is perhaps why it’s an ideal place in which to apply otherwise esoteric classroom concepts.

She has worked most closely in the past couple of years with Outreach — Center for Community Resources to make headway on recidivism intervention at the Lackawanna County Prison. High rates of relapse into criminal behavior have long been part of a complex problem in the criminal justice system.

By designing surveys and extracting, coding and analyzing data, Dr. Wolfer and students in two of her methods and statistics classes have, in the past, helped the center to examine its offerings to determine whether they truly make sense for released prisoners.

“Most students don’t think they’re going to be doing a lot of data collecting in their ‘real’ job,” Dr. Wolfer said, so CBL really works for these students. “It helps them see the utility of what they’re doing. It really drives home to students that what they’re doing will be used by a real agency.”

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