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Closing Cases Using Gunshot Residue

May 2024

Not every crime scene will have definitive evidence, such as DNA, to link an individual to a crime. In those cases, law enforcement relies on other evidence to build the burden of proof. NIJ graduate research fellow Dr. Shelby Khandasammy developed a tool to analyze organic gunshot residue and distinguish between different firearms calibers and manufacturers. She joins Marie Garcia, office director for the Office of Criminal Justice Systems at NIJ, to talk about her work and experience as a research fellow. 

Preventing Relationship and Sexual Violence on College Campuses

April 2024

This webinar will discuss implications and recommendations for the prevention of sexual assault, dating violence, and harassment on college campuses in the U.S. based on findings from an NIJ-funded study on Population and Subgroup Differences in Prevalence and Predictors of Campus Sexual Assault (Award No: 2020-VA-CX-0004). Audience members will be invited to participate in a discussion of strategies and considerations for violence prevention on college campuses that target campus-level factors contributing to victimization and perpetration.

Providing Forensics Training to Rural Jurisdictions - NIJ National Center on Forensics (NCF)

February 2024

Well-trained forensics specialists are integral to ensuring justice across the United States. However, in the country's rural states and locations, this training can be hard to come by. 

The National Center on Forensics (NCF) is a partnership between George Mason University, the National Association of Attorneys General, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, and the Montana Forensic Science Division funded by the National Institute of Justice. This grant program aims to bring forensics training to the nation's underserved rural areas. 

What's Known and Unknown about Marijuana (Part One)

January 2024

Marijuana poses many challenges for researchers, law enforcement, and policy makers, challenges that fall into two fields: drug chemistry and toxicology. NIJ scientist Dr. Frances Scott joins this episode to explain the complications in drug chemistry and how difficulties defining marijuana lead to backlogs in crime labs around the country. NIJ Communications Assistant Josh Mondoro hosts. 

Reading and Resources from NIJ:

What's Known and Unknown about Marijuana (Part Two)

January 2024

Marijuana legalization poses many challenges — especially those related to drug chemistry and toxicology — for researchers, law enforcement, and policy makers. In the latest episode of Justice Today, NIJ Communications Assistant Josh Mondoro hosts a conversation with NIJ Scientist Frances Scott about marijuana toxicology, including comparing its effects to alcohol, measuring impairment, and maintaining public safety as more and more states legalize recreational marijuana. 

A Data-Informed Response to Emerging Drugs

December 2023

The emerging drug crisis in the U.S. touches both criminal justice and public health, and experts from both fields came together at NIJ’s 2023 National Research Conference to discuss strategies and tools to fight this problem. Dr. Frances Scott, NIJ scientist and program manager, continues the conference discussion with two fellow panelists: Ciena Bayard, the Method Development and Validation Program Manager for D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and Haley Greene, the Deputy Epidemiologist for the Central Region for the Virginia Department of Health. Read the transcript.

Webinar: NIJ Research Assistantship Program Informational Webinar

October 2023

This recorded webinar, originally held September 28, 2023, provides information on NIJ’s Research Assistantship Program, which offers highly qualified doctoral students the opportunity to bring their expertise to NIJ to work across offices and program areas to obtain a practical and applied research experience. The program is a research focused professional development opportunity for doctoral students from all academic disciplines. NIJ provides funds to participating universities to pay salaries and other costs associated with research assistants who work on NIJ research activities.

Cold Cases and Serial Killers (Part 1)

September 2023

In April 2018, the Golden State Killer, Joseph DeAngelo was arrested. NIJ support helped lead to his arrest, and in the aftermath of the arrest, NIJ Social Science Analyst Eric Martin was among those tasked with finding other cases NIJ helped law enforcement solve. Eric joins the show to talk about some of those cases, and answer some broader questions about serial killers: What is a serial killer? Are they on the rise? How do we know how many serial killers are currently active?

De-escalation Training: What Works, Implementation Lessons, and Taking It to Scale; Plenary at the 2023 NIJ Research Conference

August 2023

Police use of force, while infrequently used, is a tremendous concern to public safety in the United States when officers employ it excessively or inappropriately, causing injury or death and eroding public trust in law enforcement. This plenary from the 2023 NIJ Research Conference describes the Integrating, Communications, Assessment, and Tactics (ICAT) de-escalation training program developed by the Police Executive Research Forum to guide officers in defusing critical incidents.

Inclusive Research: Engaging People Closest to the Issue Makes for Better Science & Greater Impact; 2023 NIJ Research Conference Plenary

August 2023

This panel will discuss what inclusive research is, how to conduct it, and what issues and challenges exist about engaging in it. “Inclusive research” has its history as a participatory research method designed to ensure people closest to the issue or problem under study are authentically engaged in the research process rather than simply being “research subjects.” While community-based participatory research has begun to take on greater prominence in the criminal justice realm, such efforts are largely confined to qualitative research inquiries.

Can Science Enhance Equity? Findings and Implications From a Study To Detect Bruising on Victims with Dark Skin Pigmentation

August 2023

This plenary panel from the 2023 NIJ Research Conference features fascinating research on a methodology to improve the detection and documentation of bruises on victims of violence who have dark skin pigmentation. This study highlights the intersection between science, justice, and racial equity, featuring practitioner and victims’ advocacy perspectives. The discussion describes the research and its findings and explore strategies to ensure that this particular evidence-based methodology can be widely implemented by nurse practitioners in the field.

Participants:

Meeting People Where They Are to Improve Institutional Culture

August 2023

Incarcerated individuals deserve opportunities for healing and growth, but they often lack the necessary resources for such opportunities. Additionally, organizational cultures that don’t support these outcomes often stand in the way. Researchers and practitioners gathered at NIJ’s 2023 National Research Conference to share ideas and projects that will increase opportunities for incarcerated populations around the country. This show continues their conversation. 

Embodying Evidence to Action: Tracking the Impact of Three Key NIJ Research Investments; Opening Plenary of the 2023 NIJ Research Conference

August 2023

This plenary featured three significant areas of NIJ research investment that have had a tremendous impact on both the research community and the field of practice: advances in forensic DNA, police body armor standards, and place-based analyses of public safety. Each topic was explored by a collection of people representing the researcher, practitioner, policymaker, and advocacy perspectives, exploring how evidence generation resulted in changes that improved public safety and yielded more equitable criminal justice outcomes.

2023 NIJ Research Conference Opening Ceremony

August 2023

The theme of NIJ’s 2023 Research Conference was “evidence to action,” and our goal was to bring researchers and practitioners together to learn about the latest research evidence and how it can be implemented to promote safety, equity, and justice.

The opening ceremony included remarks from U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Amy Solomon, and NIJ Director Nancy La Vigne.

Progressing from Evidence to Action

July 2023

A large body of research on crime and justice is available, yet it can take years for findings to influence practice in the field. During a recent panel at NIJ’s 2023 National Research Conference, researchers and practitioners shared ideas and discussed practical steps and promising new approaches to inspire change. Three guests join the show to continue their conversation: Dr. Tamara Herold, a senior advisor to the NIJ director, Dr. Nancy La Vigne, hosts Dr. Shon Barnes, the police chief of the Madison (Wisconsin) Police Department, and Dr.

Estimating Age of Death from Subadult Remains (Part Two)

July 2023

The long-standing problem of estimating the age and sex of subadult skeletal remains has been significantly "solved" with the advances in understanding the growth and development patterns in the skeletons of young people. This is the second half of the conversation with Kyra Stull, an anthropologist and forensic researcher at University of Nevada, Reno, Danielle McLeod-Henning, a physical scientist at NIJ, host Jim Dawson. 

Estimating Age of Death from Subadult Remains (Part One)

June 2023

The long-standing problem of estimating the age and sex of subadult skeletal remains has been significantly "solved" with the advances in understanding the growth and development patterns in the skeletons of young people. Kyra Stull, an anthropologist and forensic researcher at University of Nevada, Reno, and Danielle McLeod-Henning, a physical scientist at NIJ, share more about this research with NIJ writer and host Jim Dawson.

Reading and Resources

Driving Down Gun Violence (Part Two)

June 2023

Three LEADS Scholars serving in different law enforcement agencies and positions discuss their experiences with identifying and implementing evidence-based interventions to reduce gun violence. NIJ Senior Advisor Dr. Tamara Herold hosts this conversation with guests Police Chief Cecilia Ashe (Milford Delaware Police Department), Chief of Staff Lieutenant Matthew Barter (Manchester, NH Police Department), and Analytical Services Manager Mr. Jason Schiess (Durham, NC Police Department).

Driving Down Gun Violence (Part One)

May 2023

Three LEADS Scholars serving in different law enforcement agencies and positions discuss their experiences with identifying and implementing evidence-based interventions to reduce gun violence. NIJ Senior Advisor Dr. Tamara Herold hosts this conversation with guests Police Chief Cecilia Ashe (Milford Delaware Police Department), Chief of Staff Lieutenant Matthew Barter (Manchester, NH Police Department), and Analytical Services Manager Mr. Jason Schiess (Durham, NC Police Department).