Megan Alderden, Ph.D.

Megan Alderden is research director of the Authority’s Research & Analysis Unit and the Illinois Statistical Analysis Center. Ms. Alderden joined the Authority in June with 16 years of research experience in the field of criminal justice working as an academic and practitioner. Prior to joining the Authority, Ms. Alderden was an associate professor of criminal justice at Saint Xavier University, and preceding her work in academia, Ms. Alderden was a researcher for the Chicago Police Department and the Authority. Ms. Alderden’s most recent research focuses on sexual victimization and issues in policing. She is currently working as a co-principal investigator on a project examining evidence-based practices in homicide and sexual assault investigation in Illinois and on a federally funded study examining the impact of forensic evidence on prosecutorial decisions and court outcomes in sexual assault cases.

She is also a researcher with the National Police Research Platform, where her work focuses on police diversification, police culture, and the civilianization of police agencies. She has published in several government reports and articles in scholarly journals. Ms. Alderden received her doctorate of philosophy in criminal justice with a gender and women studies concentration from the University of Illinois at Chicago, her master of science degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University and her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Calvin College.

Megan Alderden is the Authority Acting Executive Director.

(312) 793-8550  

Academic Background

  • Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice, Calvin College
  • Master of Science, Criminal Justice, Michigan State University
  • Doctorate of Philosophy, Criminal Justice, University of Illinois Chicago

Areas of Interest

Sexual victimization, policing


Community Violence Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression
June 21, 2017 | Article | Community Violence
Addressing street-level violence such as murders and aggravated assaults and batteries that occur on the public way and often involve firearms requires a multi-pronged approach. One effective model for addressing street violence, and, in particular, gang-related or group-involved street violence, is the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Comprehensive Gang Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression Model. The model involves implementing complementary and coordinated prevention, intervention, and suppression activities in a single community. This article provides examples of evidence-based practices and programs that strengthen youth resilience and build social capital and work to reduce threats or perceived threats using the OJJDP model as a framework. The article also highlights how the model is enhanced when community stakeholders consider how trauma has impacted residents and those targeted by intervention and suppression efforts.
By Megan Alderden
Ad Hoc Victim Services Committee Research Report
January 31, 2017 | Report | Victims
The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority convened an Ad Hoc Victim Services Committee in January to review research to identify crime victim needs and service gaps and measure capacity of Illinois victim service providers. The Committee then set funding priorities to address those needs, gaps, and capacity issues. The priorities were later approved by the ICJIA Board and will guide notices of funding opportunity and statewide funding decisions for the next three years.
By Megan Alderden And Jaclyn Houston Kolnik
24/7 Sobriety Program Summary
July 25, 2016 | Article | Probation
The 24/7 Sobriety Program uses a swift, certain, and moderate sanctioning approach to reduce alcohol and drug-involved driving among individuals who have been previously convicted of driving under the influence. First implemented in South Dakota in 2005, clients served through this program are tested at least twice per day using a breathalyzer test and subject to immediate jail time for positive test results. Evaluations conducted to date have found positive outcomes associated with the program. This article provides a summary of how the program works, prior research findings, and implementation considerations.
By Megan Alderden And Caitlin DeLong
Transitional housing for victims of intimate partner violence
May 3, 2016 | Article | Victims
Many victims of intimate partner violence find themselves at increased risk for homelessness as they make efforts to escape violence. The lack of stable, safe, and affordable housing is associated with negative outcomes for these victims. This article describes the relationship between housing instability and victim health and well-being, issues to consider when addressing housing stability for this population, and recommendations for policy and practice.
By Caitlin DeLong, Megan Alderden, Jennifer Hiselman, And Tracy Hahn
Addressing Child Exposure to Violence
April 12, 2016 | Article | Child Abuse
Each year a notable number of children are exposed to violence in their homes and communities. This exposure can result in negative health and well-being consequences. Safe from the Start (SFS) programs were funded to provide treatment services and supportive referrals to children exposed to violence and their families. This report provides an overview of the Illinois Safe from the Start program, program outcomes, and implications for policy and practice.
By Caitlin DeLong And Megan Alderden
The use of incarceration to address juvenile delinquency: Court evaluation admissions to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice
March 16, 2016 | Article | Juvenile Corrections
Court evaluations, new commitments, and technical violations are three ways in which youth may be admitted to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, the state’s juvenile corrections agency. This article is the first of a three-part series examining the use of incarceration to address juvenile delinquency in Illinois. Admissions to IDJJ for court evaluations is examined, including admission trends and the impact court evaluation admissions have had on the profile of committed youth.
By Megan Alderden