Potter Receives National Award for Corrections Research
Roberto Hugh Potter, interim chair and research directorÂ for the Department of Criminal Justice,Â has received theÂ Peter P. Lejins Research AwardÂ for 2014 from the American Correctional Association.
The award is given in memory of pioneeringÂ researcher Peter Lejins and isÂ the highest honor bestowed on a corrections researcher by the national association.
â€śThe Lejins Award is given to an individual who has produced significant research for the correctional community and has demonstrated personal commitment and contribution to improve the profession of corrections,â€ť said James Gondles, ACA’s executive director.
Potter has conducted research and published extensively in the areas of crime and health,Â and particularly in areas where health systems and correctional systems intersect.
HisÂ currentÂ research interests includeÂ jail-based re-entry programs, community corrections and juvenile justiceÂ in the region.Â He placesÂ an emphasis onÂ physical and mental health issues in and interventions with correctional populations.
In addition, Potter is workingÂ on substance abuse-related problems in criminal justice. He and Assistant Professor Jacinta Gau are collaborating on a study of efforts to reduce the impact of â€śpill millsâ€ť in FloridaÂ with support from the National Institute of Justice.
The ACA presented Potter withÂ the Lejins’ awardÂ atÂ itsÂ Feb. 4 meetingÂ in Tampa.Â In addition to recognizing his research, the ACA highlightedÂ Potter’s contributions to the development of the Prison Rape Elimination Act Standards andÂ aÂ range of â€śscience to serviceâ€ť activities.
Potter thanked his colleagues over the years and the ACA leadership for their support of his work in bridging the academic, government and practice worlds.Â
â€śThe greatest contribution academic- and government-based researchers can make is to translate the basic research of the university into the hands of practitioners, either as teachers or consultants to the field,â€ť he said.Â â€śMy hope is to inspire the next generation of researchers to do this, regardless of where they happen to be employed.â€ť
Potter is a native of Florida. He earned hisÂ bachelor’s degree in psychologyÂ and sociology (’75)Â at the University of South Florida and his master’s degree and doctorate in sociology (’77 andÂ ’82, respectively) at the University of Florida.Â He has served as a researcher, educator and manager in education, nonprofit, and state and federal organizations over his work history. Potter joined the UCF faculty in 2008.