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Expanding Research to Examine the Impacts of Forensic Science on the Criminal Justice System

December 2020

In 2004, the National Institute of Justice created the social science research on forensic sciences (SSRFS) research program to explore the impact of forensic sciences on the criminal justice system and the administration of justice. Much of the early research from the SSRFS program focused on DNA processing and the use of DNA in investigations and prosecutions.

State Responses to Mass Incarceration

June 2011

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.

Recent Changes in Corrections and Reentry: Thoughts from Two Leaders in the Field

August 2019

What changes are you seeing in corrections and reentry?
Terri McDonald, chief probation officer, Los Angeles County Probation Department and John Wetzel, secretary of corrections, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections talk about recent changes in corrections and reentry. Wetzel elaborates on what the Pennsylvania DOC is facilitating with housing and how it individualizes its reentry programs. McDonald remarks on Los Angeles County’s systems approach to reentry and the idea of treating the whole person. 

Less Prison, More Police, Less Crime: How Criminology Can Save the States from Bankruptcy

April 2010

Professor Lawrence Sherman explains how policing can prevent far more crimes than prison per dollar spent. His analysis of the cost-effectiveness of prison compared to policing suggests that states can cut their total budgets for justice and reduce crime by reallocating their spending on crime: less prison, more police.

Going Home (or Not): How Residential Change Might Help the Formerly Incarcerated Stay Out of Prison

October 2011

Dr. Kirk discusses how Hurricane Katrina affected those formerly incarcerated persons originally from New Orleans and their likelihood of returning to prison. Kirk also discussed potential strategies for fostering residential change among those who were incarcerated, focusing specifically on parole residency policies and the provision of public housing vouchers.

Economical Crime Control: Perspectives from Both Sides of the Ledger

December 2011

The surge in incarceration since 1980 has been fueled in part by the mistaken belief that the population can be divided neatly into "good guys" and "bad guys." In fact, crime rates are not determined by the number of at-large criminals, any more than farm production is determined by the number of farmers. Crime is a choice, a choice that is influenced by available opportunities as much as by character. This perspective, drawn from economic theory, supports a multi-faceted approach to crime control. Dr.

Benefit-Cost Analysis for Crime Policy

February 2011

How do we decide how to allocate criminal justice resources in a way that minimizes the social harms from both crime and policy efforts to control crime? How, for that matter, do we decide how much to spend on the criminal justice system and crime control generally, versus other pressing needs? These questions are at the heart of benefit-cost analysis.

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.

"Sentinel Event" Review in the Criminal Justice System

January 2014

Listen to James Doyle discuss the basics of a "sentinel event" review in the criminal justice system. This learning-from-error approach borrows from principles that medicine, aviation and other high-risk enterprises have successfully used. Former NIJ Fellow Doyle offers the basics to understand this innovative idea that takes a system-wide perspective of error, bringing all stakeholders together in a non-blaming, forward-looking way after a bad outcome, such as a wrongful conviction, occurs.

Situational Approaches to Making Communities and Correction Institutions Safer

June 2010

NIJ Conference panelists will present the results of three studies that applied situational crime prevention (SCP) principles: (1) an evaluation of the Safe City initiative in Chula Vista, Calif., designed to combine the expertise and resources of local law enforcement, retailers and the community to increase the safety of designated retail areas; (2) a randomized controlled trial (in partnership with the Washington Metro Transit Police) that assessed the effectiveness of SCP to reduce car crime in Metro's parking facilities; and (3) an evaluation of the impact of SCP on pr

Chicago Ceasefire

June 2009

CeaseFire is an evidence-based, data-driven intervention designed to stop shootings and killings in high-incidence neighborhoods by directly intervening with those who are most likely to be involved in a shooting and by building support for alternatives to violence in those neighborhoods. Panel members will share their experiences “on the ground” mediating conflicts and working one-on-one with high-risk individuals.

What Works in Probation and Parole

June 2009

How can we prevent reoffending and reduce costs? Research points to a number of solutions. At the Tuesday plenary, Judge Steven Alm from Hawaii will describe his successes with hard-core drug offenders. “Swift and sure” is his motto. West Virginia Cabinet Secretary James W. Spears will discuss the issues from his state's perspective, and Adam Gelb, Director of the Pew Charitable Trust's Public Safety Performance Project, will lend a national overview.