Two West Virginia University sociologists will study hate crimes involving juveniles, thanks to a $73,756 grant from the U.S. Justice Departments Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

James Nolan and Carson Mencken, Division of Sociology and Anthropology faculty members in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, will work in cooperation with the FBI to collect and analyze national data about juvenile involvement in hate crimes.

“With this grant, we will collect data and compile it here at WVU ,”said Nolan, an assistant professor of sociology who specializes in criminology and statistics.”Then we will talk to experts to learn from the data what kind of influences this project can have on policies at the national level.”

Using five years of data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System, Drs. Nolan and Mencken will examine hate crime incidents in which juveniles were involved as victims or offenders. By examining a multi-year NIBRS data set, they hope to determine who are committing crimes, what types of injuries are being inflicted, where and when these hate crimes are likely to happen, types of weapons being used and how much time occurs between the offense and an arrest.

“Hopefully these analyses will be able to influence some type of policy on hate crime violence,”Nolan said.”The data we collect will be presented to an advisory group of elite experts in the field of hate crimes.”

Jack McDevitt, co-director of the Center for Criminal Justice Policy Research at Northeastern University, is a consultant to the project. He is widely recognized as a leading expert on hate crime and is co-author of the book Hate Crime: The Rising Tide of Bigotry and Bloodshed.

Among the advisers on the project is Lawrence Nichols, a WVU associate professor of sociology and editor of the journal The American Sociologist. He has written two books in the field of sociology and has conducted a wide range of research, including studies of juvenile crime, white collar crime and terrorism.

“This project is building partnerships between WVU and outstanding entities in juvenile crime,”said Mencken, an associate professor of sociology and division chair.”These partnerships should generate some synergy and collaboration in the fields future.”