L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



Cleary Receives National Honor

July 31, 2018

By Pamela Stallsmith

Hayley Cleary, Ph.D., assistant professor of Criminal Justice, is this year’s recipient of the Louise Kidder Early Career Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI).

With more than 3,000 members, SPSSI is a division of the American Psychological Association and focuses on policy relevant to research and social justice.

The selection committee described Cleary’s scholarly record as “extremely impressive” and said her work “addresses important social issues well aligned with SPSSI’s mission and the intent of this honor.”

Cleary’s research interests lie at the intersection of social science, law and policy. Her work examines adolescent behavior and decision making in justice system contexts, including youths’ contact with law enforcement, courts and corrections. The cornerstone of her research program involves police interrogation of juvenile suspects. She brings a developmental psychological approach to justice system processes and problems in effort to inform juvenile justice policy and practice.

“The society does a lot of public engagement work and focuses strongly on engaging research to effect policy change, so this is a particularly exciting award for me to receive as a public policy faculty member,” Cleary said. “I am truly honored.”

Jay Albanese, Ph.D., chair of the Wilder School’s Criminal Justice program, described her research program as “the definition of applied work.” She receives requests for expert testimony on a near-weekly basis, is a frequent speaker at conferences, and has been quoted nationally for her research, including by The New York Times and New Yorker magazine.

“Dr. Cleary conducts rigorous, thorough, impactful research on juvenile interrogations, adolescent sexual offending, and juvenile justice policy and practice,” he said. “She is viewed as a juvenile justice expert, her scholarship is already impacting public policy and practice at the local, state and federal levels.”