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Institute of Criminology



The Centre will carry out its training mission by recruiting and training highly effective people to design key experiments in crime and justice, to obtain funding and agency partners for conducting the experiments, and to analyze and report the results of these experiments with integrity and insight.  These tasks go well beyond the standard skill-set found in observational or analytic criminology, and are especially dependent on the interpersonal and emotional intelligence of the scholar.  People with excellent academic achievements are especially welcome to apply for the fully-funded Jerry Lee Scholarships to pursue pre- and post-doctoral training in experimental criminology.  Those who show, in addition to excellence at writing and thinking, the best evidence of ability to create and lead research projects will be the most competitive.

Anyone interested in applying to the programme can gather further information from the Centre Director, .


We are currently engaged in several vital projects to advance our field, including:



REX-COST is an acronym of Registry of EXperiments in COrrections Strategy and Tactics

All submissions for this registry should be sent, in CrimPORT format, to .

Registry of Experiments

  1. Criminological Protocol for Operating Randomized Trials, Ruback 2012
  2. Do offenders discover the harm of their offences? A multi-site randomised controlled trial evaluation of the Sycamore Tree Programme, Wilson 2013


REX-POST is an acronym of Registry of EXperiments in POlicing Strategy and Tactics

All submissions for this registry should be sent, in CrimPORT format, to .

Registry of Experiments

  1. West Midlands Police
  2. Operation Beck
  3. Operation Turning Point
  4. The Salt Lake City Court-Mandated Restorative Justice Treatment For Domestic Batterers Experiment - Part I
  5. The Rialto Police Department Wearable Cameras Experiment
  6. Western Australia Police Body Worn Video Experiment
  7. R-TREC - Protocol for Efficiacy Trials

Armed Police

Experimental criminology is scientific knowledge about crime and justice discovered from random assignment of different conditions in large field tests. This method is the preferred way to estimate the average effects of one variable on another, holding all other variables constant While the experimental method is not intended to answer all research questions in criminology, it can be used far more often than most criminologists assume. Opportunities are particularly promising in partnership with criminal justice agencies

Police Vans

The highest and best use of experimental criminology is to develop and test theoretically coherent ideas about reducing harm from crime, rather than just evaluating existing or even new government programs.  Testing key ideas, in turn, can help to accumulate an integrated body of grounded theory in which experimental evidence plays a crucial role.  When properly executed, randomized field experiments provide the ideal tests of theories about both the prevention and causation of crime.

The many advantages of experimental methods help explain why this branch of criminology is growing rapidly.  Just since 2005, the field has seen its first journal established (Journal of Experimental Criminology), its own separate Division of Experimental Criminology within the American Society of Criminology, and the first University centre dedicated solely to this field: the sponsor of this page, the Jerry Lee Centre for Experimental Criminology at Cambridge University.  All these institutions are dedicated to making the most of the better knowledge experiments can bring.

Yet these advantages depend entirely on the capability of the experimenters to insure success in achieving the many necessary elements of an unbiased comparison.  Many, if not most, randomized field experiments in criminology suffer flaws that could have been avoided with better planning.  The lack of such planning, in turn, may be due to the scant attention paid to field experiments in research methods texts and courses.  Even skilled, senior researchers can make basic mistakes when conducting field experiments, since experiments require a very different set of skills and methods than the normal science of observational criminology.

This web page is intended to help foster better experiments in criminology, in three ways:

  1. Providing a format for experimental planning, called protocols.
  2. Providing registries for criminology experiments, where protocols can be transparent and credible.
  3. Providing links to people doing experimental criminology, to foster more communication.

For further information about experiments in criminology please contact 

For other global institutions in experimental criminology, please click on the following links: