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


Hayley Cleary, MPP, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Public Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Virginia and a Master of Public Policy and PhD in Developmental Psychology from Georgetown University. 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. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Cleary’s work has been featured in national media outlets, including the New York Times and New Yorker magazine, and she was named the 2018 Louise Kidder Early Career Award winner for contributions to social issues research by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Cleary has been invited on numerous occasions to share her work with academic, law enforcement, and attorney audiences, including the FBI National Academy, the Virginia state legislature, and attorney organizations in several states.


Cleary, H. M. D., 
Guarnera, L. A., Aaron, J., & Crane, M. (fall, 2021). How trauma may magnify risk of involuntary and false confessions among adolescents. Wrongful Conviction Law Review.

Cleary, H. M. D., & Bull, R. (2021). Contextual factors predict self-reported confession decision-making: A field study of suspects’ actual police interrogation experiences. Law and Human Behavior, 45(4), 310–323. https://doi.org/10.1037/lhb0000459

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

Blandon-Gitlin, I., Cleary, H. M. D., & Blair, A. (2020). Race and ethnicity as a compound risk factor in police interrogation of youth. In M. Stevenson, B. Bottoms, & K. Burke (eds.), The legacy of race for children: Psychology, public policy, and law (pp. 169-187). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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, 105https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104444

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