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.

We are best known for our state-of-the-art, research-based, one-day mental illness and crisis training (The R-model: Research, Respond, Refer).



Jill and James bring almost 30 years combined teaching and research experience to The Violence Project.

Jillian PetersonJillian 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.

James DensleyBorn 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 Behaviorand 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
  • Gangs
  • Policing in the 21st Century
  • Psychology in the courtroom
  • Psychology of homicide
  • Psychopathy
  • 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
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