L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



November 2020

Hayley Cleary

Associate professor

Raleigh Building, Room 2009E Phone: (804) 827-0475 Email: hmcleary@vcu.edu


  • Police interrogation of juveniles
  • Adolescent development in legal contexts
  • Juvenile justice policy and practice


B.A., Psychology and Russian Studies, University of Virginia
M.P.P., Public Policy, Georgetown University Public Policy Institute
Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, Georgetown University


Research methods, juvenile justice, forensic psychology, juvenile law and policy

Research interests

Police interrogation, juvenile false confessions, juvenile justice policy, juvenile corrections, adolescent sex offending


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. Cleary has been invited on numerous occasions to share her work in both academic and practitioner circles, including police departments, statewide attorney conferences, and the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation and featured in national news outlets such as the New York Times and The New Yorker magazine. 


Cleary, H. M. D., & Najdowski, C. J. (2020). Awareness of sex offender registration policies and self-reported sexual offending in a community sample of adolescents. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 17(3), 486-499. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-019-00410-3

Cleary, H. M. D., & Brubaker, S. J. (2019). Therapeutic transformation of juvenile corrections in Virginia: A mixed method analysis of benefits and challenges. Children and Youth Services Review, 105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104444

Cleary, H. M. D., & Bull, R. (2019).  Jail inmates’ perspectives on police interrogation. Psychology, Crime, and Law, 25, 157-170.  doi: 10.1080/1068316X.2018.1503667

Cleary, H. M. D.  (2017).  Applying the lessons of developmental psychology to the study of juvenile interrogations: New directions for research, policy, and practice. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 23, 118-130.  doi: 10.1037/law0000120    

Cleary, H. M. D., & Warner, T. C. (2016). Police training in interviewing and interrogation methods: A comparison of techniques used with adult and juvenile suspects. Law and Human Behavior, 40, 270-284. doi: 10.1037/lhb0000175