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Professor Challenges Students To Examine Biases In Justice System

Kendell Coker, an assistant professor of psychology and criminal justice, is at the forefront of training the next generation of students with an interest in forensic psychology and/or law enforcement. He challenges them to think with open minds about race and human behavior, to look closely at biases in the justice system and to find new ways to make change.

His efforts have taken on even greater importance in light of recent incidents. In fact, a CBS-New York Times poll suggested that “public perceptions of race relations in America have grown substantially more negative in the aftermath of the shooting death of Freddie Gray and arrest of six police officers.”

An expert in the area of racial inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system, Coker recently published “The Effect of Social Problem Solving Skills in the Relationship between Traumatic Stress and Moral Disengagement among Inner-City African-American High School Students” in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma. His research found that when young people are continually exposed to trauma and violence, they tend to “morally disengage.”

“If you already feel marginalized and you don’t trust the police or society to protect you, and…

Originally posted on University of New Haven Online Newsletter

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