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Alternatives to incarceration

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Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better: Lessons from Community Courts

April 2011

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.

Reforming New Orleans' Criminal Justice System: The Role of Data and Research

September 2012

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.

Addiction, the Brain, and Evidence-Based Treatment

March 2012

The criminal justice system encounters and supervises a large number of drug abusing persons. Punishment alone is a futile and ineffective response to the problem of drug abuse. Addiction is a chronic brain disease with a strong genetic component that in most instances requires treatment. Involvement in the criminal justice system provides a unique opportunity to treat drug abuse disorders and related health conditions, thereby improving public health and safety.

Alternative Sentencing Policies for Drug Offenders

June 2009

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. 

Discussing the Future of Justice-Involved Young Adults

September 2015

New science in brain development is transforming young adult involvement with the justice system. On Tuesday, September 8, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason, and experts from NIJ and the Harvard Kennedy School Program in Criminal Justice who serve on the Executive Session on Community Corrections discussed the future of justice-involved young adults.

What Works in Offender Supervision

June 2009

This NIJ Conference Panel highlights findings from NIJ projects that evaluated strategies to enhance the supervision of offenders in the community. Researchers discuss the effectiveness of fair, swift and certain sanctions for high-risk probationers in the Hawaii HOPE program. Panelists also provide empirical evidence on the effectiveness of electronic monitoring — including the use of GPS tracking — for medium- and high-risk offenders on supervision and upon completion of their supervision sentence.

What Works in Offender Supervision

June 2009

This NIJ Conference Panel highlights findings from NIJ projects that evaluated strategies to enhance the supervision of offenders in the community. Researchers discuss the effectiveness of fair, swift and certain sanctions for high-risk probationers in the Hawaii HOPE program. Panelists also provide empirical evidence on the effectiveness of electronic monitoring — including the use of GPS tracking — for medium- and high-risk offenders on supervision and upon completion of their supervision sentence.

NIJ FY18 Research and Evaluation on the Administration of Justice

Closing Date
NIJ seeks applications for funding investigator-initiated, interdisciplinary research and evaluation projects related to the administration of justice in three priority areas: (1) eyewitness evidence; (2) front-end intervention strategies (diversion and deflection, pretrial notification protocols and court appearance compliance, and justice system-led strategies aimed at young-adult offenders); and (3) enhancing investigation and prosecution (body worn cameras, and jury nullification). Strong applications that address the administration of justice in the U.S.

Preventing Gun Violence: Understanding Law Enforcement Response and Improving Multi-disciplinary Partnerships for Peace

November 2016

This Research for the Real World seminar explores common police practices for responding to gun violence and the extent to which they are contributing to reductions in violent incidents. The panel will also explore the role of multi-disciplinary partners such as the public health sector in reducing gun violence, and discuss promising practices for law enforcement partnerships to leverage complimentary violence reduction efforts.