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.
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:
Mary Louise Kelley, Director of the Family Violence Prevention Services program at the Department of Health and Human Services, is joined by Anne Menard, Director of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, and Eleanor Lyon, the principal investigator to discuss a study focused on nonresidential domestic violence services.
In this interview, Deanna Rivard discusses how agencies can get help funding body armor, work on improving the fit of body armor and the importance of wearing it.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Innovative Research Partnerships Building a Risk Assessment Tool for the N.H. Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services
Expert Chat Webinar
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.
Lawrence Bobo, Harvard University, delivers the Keynote Address at the NIJ Conference 2011. His speech "The Importance of Research on Race, Crime and Punishment" underscores the importance of continuing to undertake the research and policy-based efforts necessary to decouple the nexus of race, crime, and punishment that defines our social landscape.
NIJ Conference Plenary Panel
Wednesday's plenary brought together the leaders of several federal science agencies for a discussion about the challenges of using scientific discoveries to shape policy and practice.
The NIJ-sponsored Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis is clarifying potential sources of error in pattern recognition analysis. It will develop best practices to remove or minimize these sources. NIJ is addressing recommendations in the 2009 National Academy of Sciences' report titled "Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward." Specifically, the panelists focus on recommendation 5, which encourages research programs on human observer bias and sources of human error in forensic examinations.
The Evaluation of NIJ by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences: NIJ's Response
The National Academies conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the National Institute of Justice. This panel provides an overview of the evaluation and NIJ's response to it. NIJ has accepted many of the recommendations in the NRC report, and you will learn what the agency is doing to implement them. A few of the recommendations were challenging and created considerable debate within NIJ. Plans to address these thorny issues also are discussed.
Tom Simon, Deputy Associate Director for Science, Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury, Centers for Disease Control
John H. Laub, Director, National Institute of Justice
This is the second in a series of conversations with John Laub discussing the most recent efforts by the National Institute of Justice to build stronger ties with the Bureau of Justice Statistics to solve crime problems.
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.
Researchers have devoted considerable attention to mass incarceration, specifically its magnitude, costs, and collateral consequences. In the face of economic constraints, strategies to reduce correctional populations while maintaining public safety are becoming a fiscal necessity. This panel will present strategies that states have undertaken to reduce incarceration rates while balancing taxpayer costs with ensuring public safety.
In this interview conducted at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Conference 2011, Edward Latessa, Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, discusses the substantial impact of the Crimesolutions.gov website on criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services.
In this interview conducted at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Conference 2011, Edward Davis, Police Commissioner of the Boston Police Department, Massachusetts, discusses action research, including the successful use of violence reduction teams, and building trust between the community and the criminal justice field.
Gary LaFree, Director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism at the University of Maryland
The tragedy of 9/11 posed unprecedented challenges to forensic science, social science, and physical science and technology — the three bedrock sciences at NIJ. Recovering from the attack and preventing another one have became topmost priorities in the 10 years since the attack. As we approach the 10th anniversary, Gary LaFree discusses how that fateful day impacted social scientific priorities and the outcomes from those changes.