This article explains the rationale for and the features and effectiveness of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Technology Institute (TI).
Prior to NIJ's sponsoring of TIs, correctional agencies throughout the Nation relied on information from vendors or manufacturers and price comparisons in making decisions about which technologies to purchase for corrections operations. NIJ sponsored its first Technology Institute for Corrections in July 1997. This and subsequent TIs for corrections have had five objectives. First, they provided background information on the various technologies that NIJ was developing and testing through its grants. Second, they provided information on technology available to or being developed by other Federal agencies that could be useful in corrections. Third, information was provided on challenges and possible solutions being addressed in technologies relevant to corrections. Fourth, a network of professional peers from throughout the Nation provided information on trends toward future technologies with possible relevance to corrections. Fifth, TIs provided knowledge about sources of technology information and assistance. Participant suggestions from the initial TIs included the creation of regional institutes that would discuss participants' experiences and progress in the use of various technologies. NIJ anticipates making TIs an annual event.