Criminology doctoral candidate receives prestigious Department of Justice fellowship

The U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship to School of Criminology and Criminal Justice doctoral candidate Chantal Fahmy. The $45,000 award is given to graduate students whose statistical work “will advance criminal justice knowledge, practice, or policy for criminal justice agencies in the United States.” The fellowship allows Fahmy to complete her doctoral dissertation assessing the impact prison and street gang membership has on recidivism and reentry.

“I am humbled by the fact I was chosen for this award and excited to showcase what I have learned and researched,’ said Fahmy. “It’s truly an honor to receive this Bureau of Justice Statistics fellowship as it will provide many opportunities for my career in the years to come.”

Fahmy’s dissertation uses data from the LoneStar Project, a longitudinal study of Texas prison inmates. The study of 802 Texas inmates examines the role gangs play while inmates are in prison and after they are released. Fahmy is one of several researchers following the transition of inmates from lock-up to release and documenting what contributes to their successes and failures. School of Criminology and Criminal Justice Foundation professor Scott Decker and University of Colorado Boulder assistant sociology professor David Pyrooz are the principal investigators of the LoneStar Project.

“Ms. Fahmy is helping us better understand the characteristics of successful transitions from prison to the street, particularly the role of physical and mental health,” said Decker. “She is also examining the differences between gang and non-gang members in this important transition.”

The award will fund Fahmy’s last year in ASU’s Ph.D. program, allowing her to focus on completing her dissertation and subsequent publications without distraction.

“I appreciate the chance to strengthen my writing skills, statistical and methodological expertise, and to learn lessons that will continue to inform my research and teaching,” Fahmy said. “I’m hoping it will open doors to other professional opportunities, but especially collaboration with others on large-scale research projects.”
Only a handful of students are selected to receive the Graduate Research Fellowship. Decker says Fahmy’s ability to manage a large scale project, conduct sophisticated quantitative analyses and groundwork in theoretical and policy worlds sets her apart.

“This is a rare skill set, one that should serve her and the field well in years to come,” Decker said.

Fahmy received her bachelor’s degree in Criminology, Law, and Society from University of California, Irvine and her master’s degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Long Beach. Her work has been published in the Journal of Criminal Justice Education, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology and Deviant Behavior.

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