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Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology Zachary Hamilton

Hamilton, ZacharyAssociate Professor
Johnson Tower 701C, WSU Pullman/Spokane
Curriculum vitae


Ph.D. Criminal Justice, 2010, Rutgers University
M.A. Criminal Justice, 2004, Rutgers University
BA Sociology & Psychology, 2002, University of Iowa


Zachary Hamilton, PhD., is an associate professor of criminal justice and criminology at WSU Spokane. He is also the director of the Washington State Institute for Criminal Justice (WSICJ). Prior to joining WSU he was senior research associate at the National Development Research Institutes (NDRI) and the Center for Court Innovation (CCI). Since 2012, Dr. Hamilton has procured grants and contracts totaling 1.5 million dollars. Projects have included localized evaluations of interventions and policies, to the development and implementation of two nationally renowned risk-need assessment systems. These projects have directly supported the work of the WSICJ and funded numerous graduate research assistants and research support staff. He was awarded the College of Arts and Sciences Early Career Achievement in Scholarship award in 2014. His evaluation of community corrections programs and policy have received recent acclaim and his future efforts surrounding offender risk-need assessment is in the process of implementation across the State of Washington. Recent publications have appeared in the Experimental Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Criminal Justice & Behavior, and Offender Rehabilitation.

Courses Taught

Corrections, Research Methods, Introduction to Quantitative Methods (Undergrad), Foundations of Quantitative Methods (Grad), Intermediate Quantitative Methods (Grad), Advanced Quantitative Methods (Grad).

Research Interests

Offender risk-needs assessment; intersection of criminal justice and public health; offender programming; and quantitative methods.

Research Projects

EVALUATION OF WASHINGTON STATE’S SWIFT AND CERTAIN POLICY FOR COMMUNITY SUPERVISION OFFENDERS. Funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), this study seeks to examine findings from the statewide implementation of Washington State’s Swift and Certain (SAC) program. The program, modeled after the Hawaii HOPE project’s application of specific deterrence principles, is the first statewide effort utilizing a large felony offender population.

WASHINGTON STATE OFFENDER RISK ASSESSMENT PROJECT. Funded by the Washington State Department of Corrections, this project is an expansive endeavor to combine collected static risk and dynamic items into a consolidated system of prediction instruments – prison infraction, recidivism and violations. To improve gender sensitivity, models are created separately for males and females. Partnering with software application specialists (, this project will span the development, patent, and implementation/training of the revised version of WADOC’s Static Risk and Offender Needs Guide assessment system (STRONG-R).

SMART SUPERVISION. Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. This project seeks to implement evidenced based practices and correctional education training using a large state-wide initiative. The project will implement core correctional practices and assist in the rollout of training surrounding the STRONG Risk-Needs assessment.

VALIDATION OF THE POSITIVE ACHIEVEMENT CHANGE TOOL (PACT). Funded by the Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts. This project is an expansive endeavor to combine collected static risk and dynamic items into a consolidated system of recidivism assessment and intervention recommendations. The outcome of this study will produce a validated risk assessment with superior performance for predicting juvenile offending within the state of Washington.

EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICES LEGISLATIVE PROVISO. This project is funded by the Washington State Department of Corrections and the Washington State Legislature and seeks to investigate the use of evidence-based programming for offender populations in the state and the recommended placement and commitment to stated programming. Working in collaboration with WADOC, WSU has sought to identify, describe, and investigate the available evidence surrounding all programing used for offender populations by the WADOC. With the intended goal of recommending programs to utilize and expand, WSU seeks to create a repository of evidence surrounding offender programing that can guide the DOC’s use of interventions going forward.

Invited Talks and Presentations

  • “An Examination of Desistance: Swift and Certain in Washington State”, Zachary Hamilton. University of Nebraska Omaha. Omaha, NE. April 21, 2015.
  • “Customizing Offender Assessment”, Zachary Hamilton. Nebraska Department of Corrections. Lincoln, NE. April 20, 2015.
  • “Customizing Offender Assessment”, Zachary Hamilton. Spokane Criminal Justice Commission. Spokane, WA. March 4 & 18, 2015.
  • “Risk Assessment and Evidenced-Based Practices Programming”, Zachary Hamilton. Washington State Legislature. Olympia, WA. January 16 & 29, 2014.
  • “Findings from the Harlem Reentry Court”. Zachary Hamilton. Prisoner Reentry Institute – Occasional Series on Reentry Research. John Jay School of Criminal Justice. October 15, 2010.
  • “Harlem Parole Reentry Court Evaluation”. Zachary Hamilton. Reentry Court Focus Group. Sheraton Boston. June 1, 2010.

Select Publications

  • Hamilton, Zachary, Melanie Neuilly, Stephen Lee, & Robert Barnoski. 2014. Isolating modeling effects in offender risk assessment. Experimental Criminology. 11(2): 299-318. DOI:0.1007/s11292-014-9221-8.
  • Hamilton, Zachary, *Alex Kigerl, and Zachary Hays. 2015. Removing Release Impediments: Evaluation of Washington State’s Housing Voucher Program. Justice Quarterly. 32 (22): 255-287.DOI: 10.1080/07418825.2012.761720.
  • Hamilton, Zachary & *Christopher Campbell. 2014. Uncommonly Observed: Evaluation of the New Jersey Halfway House System. Criminal Justice and Behavior. 41 (11): 1354-1375. DOI: 10.1177/0093854814546132.