At the beginning of the 1998-1999 academic year, the criminology department established at the Ashkelon Academic College, in collaboration with the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority, a unique research institute in Israel designed to study the integration of released prisoners back into the community. Heading the institute is Prof. Efrat Shoham ,the head of the Department of Criminology at the Ashkelon Academic College. The coordinator of the institute’s field of research and information is Ms. Irit Adamchuk, a graduate of the Department of Criminology at Ashkelon Academic College and a PhD student at Bar Ilan University.
The institute aims to combine the academy, prisoner rehabilitation authority and the prison services through the creation of a collaborative academic discussion on the reintegration of released prisoners into the community and the establishment of fact-based policy infrastructure on the effectiveness of the various rehabilitation programs.
The research institute serves a large and diverse population, including researchers from a broad spectrum of fields, students and field workers; It does so by helping to present data and programs in Israel and around the world, setting up a website containing a virtual library, and publishing articles on rehabilitation programs for released prisoners.
So far, the Institute has published 4 brochures that include a comprehensive overview of issues related to prisoner rehabilitation along with an integration of research findings conducted at the institute.
At the same time, the Research Institute is actively working to raise public awareness of the issue of re-integration of released prisoners into the community, and to formulate a public policy that will contribute and assist this goal. It is acheived through holding seminars and academic conferences, submitting position papers to the Knesset on relevant issues that arise from the public agenda from time to time, promoting and strengthening the connection between the field and the academy and other various ways.
Members of the steering committee: Prof. Efrat Shoham, Prof. Uri Timor, Dr. Ronit Peled-Laskov, Dr. Lea Itzik, Ms. Irit Adamchuk.
Psychology Research Laboratory
The psychology department operates a research laboratory. It aims to foster excellence in learning and research while at the same time developing independent thinking and personal responsibility. The research lab serves as a research center designed for student teaching, research by academic staff and research collaborations with researchers at other academic institutions.
The laboratory includes four test rooms, a control room, a statistical processing room and an office. This lab is equipped with advanced research and teaching technologies. The technologies are in the fields of sleep, psychophysiology, cognition and emotions. The research lab provides a basis for teaching, while experimenting with scientific research methods in social science in general, and psychology in particular. In addition, a seminar room was built in proximity to the laboratory. This room serves as a location where the psychology research courses are taught, such as: an experimental laboratory course, the department’s seminar and the department’s practicum.
Within the research lab, diverse and interesting research is being conducted such as: studies examining brain activity in the context of lifelong cognitive, verbal and emotional functioning; research on facial recognition aspects; Research dealing with sleep quality and sleep deprivation in connection with cognitive ability and emotion processing; Research on relationships, and research on developmental neurological aspects from infancy.
The laboratory is equipped with an innovative instrument that includes electrophysiological (EEG) system for measuring stimulation potentials, peripheral physiological measurement system, sleepwatches (actiwatch), video cameras, and a computerized function and behavior test system, which includes measurement of response times for various types of visual displays.
The department of criminology operates a forensic research laboratory. The lab serves as a platform for basic research for undergraduate students and advanced research for graduate students alongside dedicated training for professionals. In the initial phase, the laboratory is engaged in facial recognition studies (line-up, investigative procedures, etc.), and in later phases its research will be expanded to further research areas.
The purpose of the laboratory is to contribute to the field of forensic science in Israel both in the academic field and as a control mechanism for the means used by law enforcement agencies. In addition, the lab will allow collaboration with police forces, prosecutors, defense attorneys and more, and open training channels for law enforcement agencies.
Within the laboratory, a variety of research is currently conducted on facial identification, identification arrangements, psychopaths and parenting, the public’s stance on the Zadorov affair and the public’s stance on Jewish terrorism.
The forensic lab has two rooms; A management and research assistants room and a research room. The laboratory is equipped with computers, cameras and dedicated software for conducting research in the social sciences, in addition to the equipment of the psychology laboratory that includes an electrophysiological system (EEG) and a system for measuring peripheral physiological measurements. Furthermore, the laboratory is in the process of acquiring a Polygraph System, similar to the one available in the Police department, so that experiments can be conducted in the area of detecting lies and acquiring information.