This article describes the programs established by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to ensure that criminal justice practitioners are informed about and provided access to technologies that can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their work.
In 1994, NIJ established the system of National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Centers (NLECTC) to assist law enforcement and correctional agencies obtain information on new technologies, product testing, and standards development. NIJ also funded a survey conducted by the National Institute of Corrections that solicited information from corrections agencies on their technology uses and needs. The survey found that the uses of technology by corrections agencies was limited due to lack of funds, insufficient staff resources for exploring technology options, and a lack of information on available and relevant technologies for corrections operations. NIJ, through its technology grant program, is providing funding for new and emerging technologies for qualifying agencies. The Justice Technology Information Network (JUSTNET) was established by NIJ as a Web site for publicizing services and assistance for technology projects. Other technology-related programs sponsored by NIJ are briefly described. They include the Corrections Vendor Database and programs that address technologies related to vital signs monitoring, medical and pharmaceutical information systems, personal alarm monitor, non-invasive drug detection, a lessons-learned information system, vulnerability assessment, jail-based telemedicine, and the South Carolina jail linkage system.