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Terrorism Research Before and After 9/11

December 2012

In this interview conducted at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Conference 2011, Gary LaFree, Ph.D., Director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism, University of Maryland, discusses the state of domestic and transnational terrorism research in the social and behavioral sciences prior to and following September 11, 2011.

Changing the Behavior of Drug-Involved Offenders: Supervision That Works

December 2012

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

December 2012

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.

Reforming New Orleans' Criminal Justice System: The Role of Data and Research

September 2012

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.

Using Random Forest Risk Prediction in the Philadelphia Probation Department

August 2012

Geoff Barnes, Ph.D., and Jordan Hyatt, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Jerry Lee Center of Criminology

Watch two experts talk about developing a computerized system that successfully predicts — with a high degree of accuracy — which probationers are likely to violently reoffend within two years of returning to the community.

Drs. Barnes and Hyatt teamed up with the Philadelphia Adult Probation & Parole Department in an NIJ-funded project. Here they discuss:

Looking Back to See the Future of Prison Downsizing in America

June 2012

NIJ Conference Keynote Address

The recent declines in U.S. prison populations have caused many reformers to suggest that America's experiment with mass incarceration is ending. But current prison downsizing policies may well backfire if we fail to heed the lessons learned from the intermediate sanctions movement of the 1990s. In the event attendees rated highest, Dr. Petersilia summarizes these lessons and discussed why we must consider them if we want to reverse — for good — four decades of prison expansion.

Game Change: How Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships Are Redefining How We Study Crime

June 2012

Opening Plenary Panel
When researchers and practitioners work side by side, they can maximize their problem-solving abilities. The research partner can focus on the data and the science; the practitioner can focus on interpreting the findings and applying them in the field. In the plenary panel, panelists described the benefits, challenges and pitfalls of researcher-practitioner partnerships with a focus on the financial benefits to the practitioner.

Moderator: John H. Laub, Director, National Institute of Justice

Panelists:

Effects of Wrongful Conviction Cases

June 2012

NIJ has funded a study examining the impact of wrongful convictions on crime victims. The study is looking at the impact on the original victim of the crime to get a better understanding of what their service needs are, and how we can better serve them both in terms of policy and practice.

Protecting our Protectors: Using Science to Improve Officer Safety and Wellness

June 2012

Each year, 100-200 law enforcement officers die in the line of duty. Last year, 177 lost their lives — a 16-percent increase from 2010. As Attorney General Eric Holder noted, this is a devastating and unacceptable trend. NIJ has developed a robust research portfolio to improve officer safety and wellness and, ultimately, save lives. This panel discussed some of NIJ's most promising work to reduce shooting and traffic-related fatalities — consistently the leading causes of officer line-of-duty deaths — and improve officer wellness, which is inextricably linked with officer safety.

Violent Repeat Victimization: Prospects and Challenges for Research and Practice

April 2012

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.

Addiction, the Brain, and Evidence-Based Treatment

March 2012

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.

Economical Crime Control: Perspectives from Both Sides of the Ledger

December 2011

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.

Going Home (or Not): How Residential Change Might Help Former Offenders Stay Out of Prison

October 2011

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.

Familial DNA Searching: Issues and Answers

June 2011

Familial DNA searching is the practice of creating new investigative leads in cases where DNA evidence found at the scene of a crime strongly resembles that of an existing DNA profile but is not an exact match. Panelists will explain how the technology works, provide examples of successful convictions obtained through familial searches, and discuss the various misconceptions and concerns regarding this practice.

How Collaboration Between Researchers and Police Chiefs Can Improve the Quality of Sexual Assault Investigations: A Look at Los Angeles

June 2011

Panelists discuss the application of research findings from an NIJ-sponsored study of sexual assault attrition to police practice in Los Angeles. There are three main focal points: (1) the mutual benefits of researcher/practitioner partnerships, (2) the implications of variation in police interpretation of UCR guidelines specific to clearing sexual assault (with an emphasis on cases involving nonstrangers), and (3) the content of specialized training that must be required for patrol officers and detectives who respond to and investigate sex crimes.