Applying technology to help address the challenges of crime and justice is one component of NIJ’s larger research agenda. NIJ seeks to apply technology and technology-related knowledge to strengthen criminal justice policy and practice in the U.S.
NIJ has six core science and technology research objectives:
- Strengthen decision-making by the criminal justice practitioner
Dealing effectively with the challenges of crime and justice requires criminal justice practitioners to be able to make the right decision at the right time. NIJ seeks to achieve that with a three-pronged approach applying technology to better (1) use and understand data, (2) develop data, and (3) train officers to use and access data.
- Strengthen the delivery of information to the criminal justice practitioner
To make effective decisions, criminal justice practitioners must have access to the information they need when and where they need it. NIJ’s efforts focus on optimizing the flow of data through the criminal justice system data architecture. This includes targeting data so that practitioners are not overwhelmed and receive only the specific information they need.
- Strengthen criminal justice communication systems
NIJ’s efforts focus on, but are not limited to, supporting implementation of the National Public Safety Broadband Network to strengthen public safety.
- Strengthen the management of individuals under criminal justice supervision
NIJ’s efforts focus on the application of technology in both institutional and community settings to strengthen public safety and to reduce recidivism.
- Reduce officer deaths and injuries
NIJ’s efforts involve the application of technology and technology-related knowledge to reduce police and correctional officer deaths and injuries. This includes research on safety equipment and the promotion of officer health and wellness.
- Reduce deaths and injuries of individuals under the supervision of the criminal justice system
NIJ’s efforts involve the application of technology and technology-related knowledge to reduce deaths and injuries to individuals under the supervision of the criminal justice system. This includes research on safety equipment and the promotion of detainee health and wellness.
These objectives cut across multiple criminal justice communities of practice. All of them apply to the law enforcement, courts, and corrections communities of practice, and the first three also apply to the forensics community of practice.
Note that these objectives overlap and influence each other. For example, the quality of decision-making influences the quality of supervision. In turn, the quality of supervision influences the safety, health, and wellness of both those doing the supervising and those being supervised, which, in turn, affects officer and detainee deaths and injuries.
To address these objectives, NIJ engages in and funds interdisciplinary, intramural and extramural research, development, and evaluation projects to meet the real-world needs of criminal justice agencies and practitioners.