NIJ's seminar series is held periodically in Washington, D.C., and features research that is changing our thinking about policies and practices. The seminars are recorded before a live audience and posted to NIJ.ojp.gov.
NIJ has not planned our next seminar but we encourage you to sign up for email updates.
Watch Past Seminars
At this Research for the Real World seminar, NIJ brought together law enforcement practitioners and leading researchers in the field of stress to discuss the current research evidence and practical benefits of targeted stress-management interventions and how they can promote officer mental wellness.
Preventing Gun Violence: Understanding Law Enforcement Response and Improving Multi-disciplinary Partnerships for Peace
This Research for the Real World seminar explores common police practices for responding to gun violence and the extent to which they are contributing to reductions in violent incidents. The panel will also explore the role of multi-disciplinary partners such as the public health sector in reducing gun violence, and discuss promising practices for law enforcement partnerships to leverage complimentary violence reduction efforts.
This seminar provides the first set of estimates from a national large-scale survey of violence against women and men who identified themselves as American Indian or Alaska Native using detailed behaviorally specific questions on psychological aggression, coercive control and entrapment, physical violence, stalking, and sexual violence. These results are expected to raise awareness and understanding of violence experienced by American Indian and Alaska Native people.
In this Research for the Real World seminar, forward-looking figures in the law enforcement community examine how law enforcement can be improved through the adoption of community-minded policies.
In this seminar, Dr. Peggy Giordano of Bowling Green State University presents preliminary findings from the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study (TARS), a thirteen-year longitudinal study examining the lives of young people transitioning into adulthood. In this study, Dr. Giordano led a team of researchers who performed five waves of structured in-home surveys paired with in-depth qualitative interviews with a subset of respondents who had experienced violence within the context of their dating relationships.
Bill King discusses the operations of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), a program through which firearms examiners at state and local crime laboratories compare tool marks on fired bullets or cartridges found at a crime scene to digitized images of ballistic evidence in a nationwide database.
In the face of budget cuts, changing workforce demands, new varieties of crime and new technologies, how should police executives manage officers and other personnel and still ensure that organizational goals are being met?
Ohio State University Since World War II, the homicide rate in the U.S. has been three to ten times higher than in Canada, Western Europe, and Japan. This, however, has not always been the case. What caused the dramatic change? Dr. Roth discussed how and why rates of different kinds of homicide have varied across time and space over the past 450 years, including an examination of the murder of children by parents or caregivers, intimate partner violence, and homicides among unrelated adults.
What does science tell us about case factors that can lead to a wrongful conviction? Dr. Jon Gould of American University will discuss the findings of the first large-scale empirical study that has identified ten statistically significant factors that distinguish a wrongful conviction from a "near miss." (A "near miss" is a case in which an innocent defendant was acquitted or had charges dismissed before trial). Following Dr. Gould's presentation, Mr. John R.
A small number of offenders who are heavily involved in drugs commit a large portion of the crime in this country. An evaluation of a "smart supervision" effort in Hawaii that uses swift and certain sanctioning showed that heavily involved drug offenders can indeed change their behavior when the supervision is properly implemented.
The Neurobiology of Sexual Assault: Implications for Law Enforcement, Prosecution, and Victim Advocacy
Dr. Campbell brings together research on the neurobiology of trauma and the criminal justice response to sexual assault. She explains the underlying neurobiology of traumatic events, its emotional and physical manifestation, and how these processes can impact the investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults. Real-world, practical implications are examined for first responders, such as law enforcement, nurses, prosecutors, and advocates.
With its criminal justice system in disarray following Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans invited the Vera Institute of Justice to examine the city's court and jail operations. For five years, Vera has been tracking arrest-to-first-appearance time, custodial arrests versus summonses, the granting of pretrial release, and many other decision-making points. Based on analysis of these data, Vera is making policy recommendations to assist with the implementation of new procedures and to ensure performance monitoring.
Research tells us that a relatively small fraction of individuals experience a large proportion of violent victimizations. Thus, focusing on reducing repeat victimization might have a large impact on total rates of violence. However, research also tells us that most violent crime victims do not experience more than one incident during a six-month or one-year time period. As a result, special policies to prevent repeat violence may not be cost-effective for most victims.
The criminal justice system encounters and supervises a large number of drug abusing persons. Punishment alone is a futile and ineffective response to the problem of drug abuse. Addiction is a chronic brain disease with a strong genetic component that in most instances requires treatment. Involvement in the criminal justice system provides a unique opportunity to treat drug abuse disorders and related health conditions, thereby improving public health and safety.
The surge in incarceration since 1980 has been fueled in part by the mistaken belief that the population can be divided neatly into "good guys" and "bad guys." In fact, crime rates are not determined by the number of at-large criminals, any more than farm production is determined by the number of farmers. Crime is a choice, a choice that is influenced by available opportunities as much as by character. This perspective, drawn from economic theory, supports a multi-faceted approach to crime control. Dr.
Dr. Kirk discusses how Hurricane Katrina affected ex-prisoners originally from New Orleans and their likelihood of returning to prison. Kirk also discussed potential strategies for fostering residential change among ex-prisoners, focusing specifically on parole residency policies and the provision of public housing vouchers.
Change doesn't come easy, particularly within an institution as large and complex as the criminal justice system. Greg Berman, Director of the Center for Court Innovation, offered lessons from several efforts to make reform stick in criminal justice settings. In particular, he focused on the development of community courts — experimental court projects that are attempting to reduce both crime and incarceration in dozens of cities across the U.S. and around the world.
How do we decide how to allocate criminal justice resources in a way that minimizes the social harms from both crime and policy efforts to control crime? How, for that matter, do we decide how much to spend on the criminal justice system and crime control generally, versus other pressing needs? These questions are at the heart of benefit-cost analysis.
Since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, great strides have been made in the areas of child protection and advocacy. However, the concept of children, and specifically adolescents, as functional and engaged citizens has also emerged. Through the guidance and recognition of adults, children can participate in deliberative democracy as legitimate and competent citizens. This citizenship, like that of adults, can be used to enrich and improve local communities by creating a sense of ownership and fairness. Dr.
Don't Jump the Shark: Understanding Deterrence and Legitimacy in the Architecture of Law Enforcement
Deterrence theory dominates the American understanding of how to regulate criminal behavior but social psychologists' research shows that people comply for reasons that have nothing to do with fear of punishment; they have to do with values, fair procedures and how people connect with one another. Professor Meares discussed the relevance of social psychologists' emerging theory to legal theory and practice and how deterrence and emerging social psychology theories intertwine.
Mothers & Children Seeking Safety in the US: A Study of International Child Abduction Cases Involving Domestic Violence
Since the implementation of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, thousands of abused women have faced complex litigation after seeking safety in the United States. Many have been court ordered to return their to the country from which they fled and often to their abusive partners custody. The presenters discussed the findings of an NIJ-funded study focusing on the experiences of women who as victims of domestic violence in another country, come to the U.S.
Professor Christopher Stone recently completed a study of police-on-police shootings as part of a task force he chaired in New York State. He reported on his findings and recommendations, exploring the role of race in policing decisions, methods to improve training and tactics to defuse police-on-police confrontations before they become fatal, and methods to improve the investigations of such shootings.
Professor Ed Latessa describes how his team and he assessed more than 550 programs and saw the best and the worst. Professor Latessa shared his lessons learned and examples of states that are trying to use evidence-based knowledge to improve correctional programs.
Professor Lawrence Sherman explains how policing can prevent far more crimes than prison per dollar spent. His analysis of the cost-effectiveness of prison compared to policing suggests that states can cut their total budgets for justice and reduce crime by reallocating their spending on crime: less prison, more police.
David Olds, founder of the Nurse-Family Partnership Program, describes the programs long-term impact on mothers and babies who began participating in the program more than 19 years ago. The Nurse-Family Partnership maternal health program introduces vulnerable first-time parents to maternal and child health nurses. It allows nurses to deliver the support first-time moms need to have a healthy pregnancy, become knowledgeable and responsible parents, and provide their babies and later children and young adults with the best possible start in life.
Professor Rosenbaum and a panel of colleagues discuss a study to demonstrate the feasibility of creating a foundation from which to launch studies about multiple aspects of policing using standardized definitions and measurement tools. Their goal is to advance knowledge about policing and translate data into evidence-based best practices that improve training, supervision and accountability systems. The effort is expected to produce a better understanding of what motivates police officers and makes them healthier, happier and more effective.
Tom R. Tyler, chair of the New York University psychology department, describes research on profiling and community policing. His research found that citizens of all races show greater respect for law enforcement when they believe officers are treating them fairly. Even citizens who experienced a negative outcome getting a traffic ticket, for example showed higher levels of respect for and cooperation with law enforcement as long as they believed they were not being singled out unfairly.
David Weisburd, recipient of the 2010 Stockholm Prize in Criminology, explains research showing that intensified police patrols in high-crime hot spots can substantially decrease crime without causing it to rise in other areas. He explains the effectiveness of policing that concentrates prevention efforts at less than 5 percent of all street corners and addresses where more than 50 percent of urban crime occurs. The evidence suggests that crimes depend not just on criminals, but also on policing in key places.
T.K. Logan discusses her study that looked at the impact of civil protective orders for domestic violence victims in five Kentucky jurisdictions. Civil protective orders, sometimes known as restraining orders, may cover various situations, such as ordering an assailant to avoid a victim's home and workplace or forbidding any contact with the victim, including by mail or telephone.
Experts discuss cases of domestic violence that escalate to homicide followed by suicide. Although the economy and unemployment are risk factors, prior domestic violence is by far the number one risk factor. The men usually display possessive, obsessive and jealous behavior, and they typically use guns to threaten and terrorize before they use them to kill.