Seek Justice

A weekly deep dive into Criminal Justice with Erik Rasmussen and Dennis Schrantz

Ep. 10 - Trust the Methodology


Working on criminal justice topics gives me a very different perspective on the Kochs than my equally-liberal friends & family have. Charles Koch Foundation & Charles Kock Institute are perhaps the most important funders of research related to criminal justice policy & reform.

They also frequently host conferences that bring top-notch researchers and practitioners together in one room — a chance to meet everyone else who’s working in this space. In other words, they throw great parties — sounds trivial but this is super important & helpful!

Charles Koch Foundation has funded my own work related to prisoner reentry and I am deeply grateful for that as well as their broader support of my research. My contacts there & Charles Kock Institute are the first I call if I’m looking for practioner contacts. They know everyone!

As funders they are extremely hands-off — to a degree that is almost funny. I think they know people are watching them closely for missteps so are super careful. But most funders in this space have strong opinions abt what you should study & what you should find. They don’t.

Koch Industries for a long time was a major proponent of Ban the Box policies. When my research on BTB (which they did not fund) came out, showing detrimental effects, they were eager to hear about it & engage w the results. I really appreciated that.

To my fellow liberals that love to hate the Koch brothers, I simply say: the story is more complicated (as always, right?). Charles Koch in particular is enabling & supporting evidence-based CJ reform in red & blue states alike, and that is something we should all appreciate.

Example of Correlation-Causation Escalation

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, uncovered a potential link between P. gingivalis, the bacteria associated with periodontal disease (commonly known as gum disease) and Alzheimer’s.

Infectious agents have been found in the brain and postulated to be involved with AD, but robust evidence of causation has not been established.

Our theme music is District Four, by Kevin MacLeod (
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