WHAT WE DO
The Violence Project LLC provides consulting, research, evaluation, and training on criminal justice issues. Our aim is to reduce levels of crime and violence in society.
On behalf of cities, counties, states, federal agencies, private and non-profit organizations, we collect and analyze data, conduct needs assessments, develop new programming, evaluate existing programming, and consult on internal processes and policies.
We provide bespoke training in the areas of police, courts, corrections, and community, on subject matter including mental illness, trauma, family violence, sexual violence and child exploitation, youth violence, street gangs, cyber violence, mass shootings, and violent extremism.
Jill and James bring almost 30 years combined teaching and research experience to The Violence Project.
Jillian Peterson, PhD, launched her career as a special investigator in New York City, investigating the bio-psycho-social life histories of men facing the death penalty, which were used in their sentencing hearings. Jill has a Master’s in social ecology and a Doctorate in psychology and social behavior from the University of California, Irvine. She has led large-scale research studies on mental illness and crime, school shooting prevention strategies, and mass violence, which have received national media attention. She is a sought-after trainer and speaker on issues related to mental illness and violence, trauma, cyber-violence, the development of crime and violence, and forensic psychology. Jill is trained in restorative justice, violence mediation, crisis intervention, de-escalation, and suicide prevention.
Born and raised in England, James Densley, PhD, brings a global perspective to The Violence Project. James moved to Minnesota in 2010 after teaching in the New York City public schools and completing a Doctorate in sociology at the University of Oxford. Since then, he has quickly established himself as one of the world’s leading experts on street gangs and youth violence, and a prominent voice locally on issues of peace officer education and training. His work has attracted local, national, and international media attention. He is the author of the award-winning How Gangs Work (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and co-author of the textbook, Minnesota’s Criminal Justice System (Carolina Academic Press, 2016). His research examines how youth join gangs, leave gangs, and everything in between. He has also published on mass murder, murder-suicide, and cyber violence. He is a certified special education teacher.
Jill and James first met in 2013. Recognizing shared interests, they collaborated on research into cyber violence (published in Aggression and Violent Behavior) and group aggression (published in Current Issues in Psychology). They co-authored a chapter in an edited volume on aggression and violence, followed by a series of Op-Eds for CNN and The Star Tribune. Jill and James also co-faciliated a number of successful public and community forums and practitioner trainings about violence.
Jill, a psychologist, and James, a sociologist, found that by working together, they could bridge disciplinary divides and develop both a common language for understanding violence and a holistic approach to addressing it. At this time, The Violence Project was born.
On-site consulting Off-site consulting Keynote or brief speech
Half-day workshop Full-day workshop Certification training
Needs assessment Staff assessment Strategic planning
Focus groups Research briefs Cost analysis
Program evaluation Trial consulting Expert witness testimony
Media commentary Police investigation consulting
We train lawyers, police officers, corrections officers, probation and parole officers, educators, social workers, and more. We can tailor our training programs to the specific needs and interests of your agency or organization.
- Understanding and working with mental illness in the justice system
- Certification program for recognizing and responding to mental illness
- Prevention and intervention programs
- Evidence-based practices
- De-escalation and crisis intervention (one-day certification program)
- Substance abuse
- Suicide and self-harm
- Reducing recidivism
- What works in violence prevention and intervention
- Gun violence
- Policing in the 21st Century
- Psychology in the courtroom
- Psychology of homicide
- Making a murder: Lessons from death row
- Current issues in psychology and law
- Sexual violence and sex offenders
- Pathway to offending – early childhood to adult
- Mass shootings
- Social media and crime
- False confessions
American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies
FBI Minneapolis Citizens Academy
Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center
Homicide Investigators Association
McGregor Independent School District
Metropolitan Police Service
Minnesota Association of Pretrial Agencies
Minnesota Association of Community Corrections Act Counties
Minnesota Community Corrections Association
Minnesota Department of Corrections
Minnesota Dispositional Advisers Office
Minnesota Juvenile Detention Association
Minnesota Office of Justice Programs
Minnesota Public Defenders
Minnesota Rotary Club
Minnesota Social Services Association
Minnesota Violent Crime Coordinating Council
Minnetonka Police Department
Washington County Community Corrections Department
We are currently developing a one-day, evidence-based, mental illness and crisis training for law enforcement professionals (The R-Model: Research, Respond, Refer). We are partnering with the Minnetonka Police Department.
Our state of the art program introduces new concepts and protocols, including how to quickly recognize the signs of a crisis, evidence-based crisis management strategies, connections with community resources, and agency-specific initiatives. This model includes trauma-informed care, cultural competency, and officer mental health.
Prior to administering the training, we can conduct stakeholder interviews, analyze crime data, and assess community needs and resources. The one-day training model is tailored for specific agencies and delivered in-house.
The training meets the new Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) in-service learning objectives for Crisis Intervention, Mental Illness, and Conflict Management and Mediation.
The impact of this new training will be published and available April 2018.
If you are interested in bringing the R-Model to your agency, please contact us.
Is Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training evidence-based practice? A systematic review (forthcoming)
Gun Violence in America
The Violence Project has produced a 50 page comprehensive report on gun violence in America. This free report examines the history of guns in the United States, the prevalence of gun violence in our communities, trends in mass shootings, and the rise of “performance violence” in an age of social media. This report also analyses what works in gun violence prevention and intervention. Download here:
Densley, J. & Peterson, J. (2017). Gun violence in America. St. Paul, MN: The Violence Project LLC. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.29196.00649
Mass Shooter Database
The Violence Project is currently building a database of public mass shooters in the United States from 1966 to 2017. This extends the work of Grant Duwe, Mother Jones, The Washington Post, and others. Based on an extensive content analysis, we are systematically coding offenders on 50 different psycho-social variables. We aim to use statistical modeling to look for patterns in the data that can better inform research and policy.
Coming Spring 2018
Sandy Hook five years on: more awareness but still too little control, France 24.
Mass shootings aren’t more frequent—but they are deadlier, Associated Press. Partial List: ABC News; Chicago Tribune; Fox News; Houston Chronicle; LA Times; Minnesota Public Radio; Newsday; New York Times; San Francisco Chronicle; Seattle Times; St. Louis Post–Dispatch; Washington Post; Yahoo.
Both sides of gun debate wonder how to keep guns from those who shouldn’t have them, Washington Post.
Shootings drop in Minneapolis, but rounds fired are on the rise, Star Tribune.
Minnesota Researchers Create Mass Shooting Database, Associated Press. Partial List: KSTP–TV; Middletown Press; Post Bulletin; Register Citizen; San Francisco Chronicle; Seattle Times; USA Today; U.S. News and World Report; Washington Times; Winona Daily News.
“This Shooter is a Little Different”: Hamline Professor Studies Mass Shootings, Minnesota Public Radio.
Hamline Team Researches the Why Behind Mass Shootings, KARE 11.
How Common are Mass Shootings? WCCO.
Trying to Make Sense of Mass Shootings, KARE 11.
The Violence Project offers consulting, education, and training services to school districts, K-12 schools, colleges and universities. We work with educators at all levels (administrators, advisers, faculty, and staff) to understand and address the following:
- Cyber-bullying and social media
- Sexual violence and exploitation (rape, sexual harassment)
- School–to–prison pipeline
- Suicide awareness and prevention
- Mental illness – early detection and treatment
- Working with students who’ve experienced trauma
- Working with students in crisis
Contact us to schedule.