This report presents the purpose and methods of the CrimeSolutions program of the U.S. Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which NIJ established as an online resource to provide criminal justice agencies and personnel with findings on what has proven effective or ineffective in various areas of criminal justice, based on scientifically reliable evaluations.
The various areas of criminal justice addressed by CrimeSolutions are 1) the prevention or reduction of crime, delinquency, or related problem behaviors; 2) the prevention, intervention, or response to victimization; and 3) improvement in justice systems or processes, which includes assistance to persons convicted of a crime or at-risk populations with potential to become involved in the justice system. The terms “program” and “practice” are distinguished in CrimeSolutions. A “program” is a specific set of activities implemented according to guidelines to achieve a defined purpose. Program profiles on Crime Solutions indicate whether a program was successful in achieving justice-related outcomes when it was appropriately evaluated. A “practice” is a general category of programs, strategies, or procedures that have similar characteristics regarding the issues they address and the methods used. CrimeSolutions uses a standardized process in evaluating programs and practices to ensure the reliability of the evaluation methods used in determining program practices and effects, as well as their level of effectiveness. Overall, CrimeSolutions explains to its users the features and effectiveness of various criminal justice programs and practices that have addressed a variety of criminal justice issues. This can guide users’ decisionmaking on how to address criminal justice issues of concern in their communities.