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.
Change doesn't come easy, particularly within an institution as large and complex as the criminal justice system. Greg Berman, Director of the Center for Court Innovation, offered lessons from several efforts to make reform stick in criminal justice settings. In particular, he focused on the development of community courts — experimental court projects that are attempting to reduce both crime and incarceration in dozens of cities across the U.S. and around the world.
Professor Ed Latessa describes how his team and he assessed more than 550 programs and saw the best and the worst. Professor Latessa shared his lessons learned and examples of states that are trying to use evidence-based knowledge to improve correctional programs.
Bill King discusses the operations of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), a program through which firearms examiners at state and local crime laboratories compare tool marks on fired bullets or cartridges found at a crime scene to digitized images of ballistic evidence in a nationwide database.
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.
The panel presentations from the 2009 NIJ Conference are based on an NIJ-sponsored evaluation of the effectiveness of Kansas Senate Bill 123, which mandates community-based drug abuse treatment for drug possession by nonviolent offenders in lieu of prison.
Criminals are using cell phones illegally in prisons and jails to conduct their business and intimidate witnesses. Although technology solutions to this problem are available, they can create new challenges, such as legal and implementation issues associated with cell phone use in correctional facilities. Panelists will discuss various aspects to consider from how prisoners use cell phones, to day-to-day and operational aspects, to legal and regulatory concerns.
This NIJ Conference Panel brings together American and European practitioners using innovative approaches to thwart the sharing of child pornography online. The panel will highlight two efforts. The first, which NIJ's International Center is evaluating, is a European multilateral project that teams criminal investigators with international nongovernmental organizations and Internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to child pornography sites. The second effort seeks to prevent child pornographers from accessing credit card and other online payment systems.
This NIJ Conference Panel will explore the development and use of evidence-based policies, programs and technologies to improve effectiveness and efficiencies related to government. Through casual observation, practices and programs may appear to be effective, but under closer scrutiny the results may look much different.
Panelists will present findings from two NIJ studies that examined the DNA backlog in law enforcement agencies and crime labs. Panelists will discuss research findings related to new and potential time- and cost-saving approaches.