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Research Findings

The DOC conducts first-rate research that provides evidence on which to improve correctional policy and practice.

Since 2010, Minnesota DOC research staff have produced more than 75 research studies and program evaluations that have been published in peer-reviewed academic journals. These publications have appeared in some of the leading journals in the field, including:

  • Criminology
  • Criminology & Public Policy
  • Criminal Justice and Behavior
  • Justice Quarterly

Forming Minnesota’s own “What Works” literature, this body of research has helped reveal what’s effective (and what isn’t) for the state’s correctional population. DOC research has covered a wide array of topics, including:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral, Domestic Violence, Education, Employment, Faith-Based and Reentry Programming
  • Sex Offense and Substance Use Disorder Treatment
  • Prison Labor
  • In-person and video visitation
  • Risk-Needs-Responsivity assessments
  • Restrictive Housing
  • Violence and misconduct in prison
  • Intensive Supervised Release

DOC research has been featured in a variety of media, including:

  • British Broadcasting Corporation
  • Corrections Today
  • Justice Trends
  • London School of Economics American Politics and Policy Blog

In recognition of their work, DOC researchers have received the following awards:

  • The 2013 Academy of Criminal Justice Science’s Donal MacNamara Award for Outstanding Journal Publication
  • The 2014 American Society of Criminology’s Practitioner Research Award
  • The 2018 Justice Research and Statistics Association’s Douglas Yearwood Award
  • The 2019 Corrections: Policy, Practice and Research Article of the Year

Conducting Research at the Minnesota DOC

Research proposals on Minnesota’s correctional population (including incarcerated offenders as well as those on probation or supervised release) may require a review by the Minnesota Department of Corrections’ Human Subjects Review Board (HSB). Due to existing resource limitations, however, the HSB no longer reviews student research projects. Interested researchers should read Minnesota Research Policy 102.100 and submit the corresponding forms to the Research Director at for consideration.

Find Research Policy 102.100 in the online Policy Manual

Research Request Form

The HSB meets quarterly to review research requests and makes recommendations to the Research and Evaluation Advisory Committee (REAC) regarding project approval. Each proposal must be approved by REAC and then is submitted to DOC Administration for a final decision. Requests must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the quarterly review date. Due to the multi-level review process, decisions may take several weeks. Please consider the length of time a review may take when submitting a proposal.

Please direct any questions or requests for further information to


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