Skemer’s research focuses on evaluations of criminal legal policies, systems, and reforms. She also studies new system approaches in child support enforcement. Currently, Skemer serves as a research and design lead for the Pretrial Justice Collaborative, a study of eight jurisdictions across the country aimed at building usable evidence on the most effective strategies for reducing pretrial detention, minimizing supervision conditions, and reducing racial and economic inequities while preserving court appearance rates. Additionally, Skemer directs the Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) demonstration, a random assignment study testing the efficacy of incorporating procedural justice principles into child support practices to re-engage parents who have fallen behind in their child support payments, rather than relying on a court-led civil contempt process. PJAC also includes an equity study that will assess racial/ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic disparities at various decision points across the child support process, with an emphasis on use of punitive enforcement measures.
Skemer’s responsibilities include project direction and management; research design; impact analysis; interview and focus group facilitation; writing policy briefs, reports, and commentaries; presenting research findings; and developing new projects. Selected past projects include an evaluation of New York City’s Pretrial Supervised Release program, the Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration, the Evaluation of the PACE Center for Girls, and the Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation. Skemer holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in sociology from the University of California-Irvine.
Courtney, Mark E., Erin J. Valentine, and Melanie Skemer. 2019. “Experimental Evaluation of Transitional Living Services for System-Involved Youth: Implications for Policy and Practice.” Children and Youth Services Review 96: 396-408.
Baer, Justin, and Melanie Skemer. 2009. Review of State Motorcycle Safety Program Technical Assessments. DOT HS 811–082. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation.
Baldi, Stéphane, Ying Jin, Melanie Skemer, Patricia J. Green, and Deborah Herget. 2007. Highlights From PISA 2006: Performance of U.S. 15-Year-Old Students in Science and Mathematics Literacy in an International Context. NCES 2008–016. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.