Helms School of Government


Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MS)


Gregory Koehle


forensic psychology, ACE factors, ACEs, developmental traumas, PCEs, adverse childhood events




The connection between childhood traumas and subsequent detrimental adult behavioral issues has been well documented. In recent times, both the medical and psychological fields have turned their attention toward specific criteria of childhood traumas labeled Adverse Childhood Events, or ACEs. A threshold of ACE factors shows a significant connection to the later physical and mental health of individuals who have participated in such studies. Due to the connection between childhood traumas, mental health, and interactions with law enforcement, this study attempts to define the relationship, if such a relationship exists, between ACE factors and interactions with the criminal justice system. This study combines original research compiled through an anonymous self-report containing qualitative and quantitative data and archived data about prior research concerning ACE factors and the criminal justice system. Findings in this study do indicate a relationship between a higher sum of ACE factors and involvement with the criminal justice system, however, ACE factors alone do not guarantee continued interactions with the criminal justice system. Further research connecting individuals directly to perceptions of trauma and later involvement in the criminal justice system are needed in order to further identify this connection.

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