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Public policy

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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.

Why Is the United States the Most Homicidal Nation in the Affluent World?

December 2013

Ohio State University Since World War II, the homicide rate in the U.S. has been three to ten times higher than in Canada, Western Europe, and Japan. This, however, has not always been the case. What caused the dramatic change? Dr. Roth discussed how and why rates of different kinds of homicide have varied across time and space over the past 450 years, including an examination of the murder of children by parents or caregivers, intimate partner violence, and homicides among unrelated adults.

Violent Repeat Victimization: Prospects and Challenges for Research and Practice

April 2012

Research tells us that a relatively small fraction of individuals experience a large proportion of violent victimizations. Thus, focusing on reducing repeat victimization might have a large impact on total rates of violence. However, research also tells us that most violent crime victims do not experience more than one incident during a six-month or one-year time period. As a result, special policies to prevent repeat violence may not be cost-effective for most victims.

Nurse-Family Partnerships: From Trials to International Replication

January 2010

David Olds, founder of the Nurse-Family Partnership Program, describes the programs long-term impact on mothers and babies who began participating in the program more than 19 years ago. The Nurse-Family Partnership maternal health program introduces vulnerable first-time parents to maternal and child health nurses. It allows nurses to deliver the support first-time moms need to have a healthy pregnancy, become knowledgeable and responsible parents, and provide their babies and later children and young adults with the best possible start in life.

Mothers & Children Seeking Safety in the US: A Study of International Child Abduction Cases Involving Domestic Violence

October 2010

Since the implementation of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, thousands of abused women have faced complex litigation after seeking safety in the United States. Many have been court ordered to return their to the country from which they fled and often to their abusive partners custody. The presenters discussed the findings of an NIJ-funded study focusing on the experiences of women who as victims of domestic violence in another country, come to the U.S.

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.

Changing the Behavior of Drug-Involved Offenders: Supervision That Works

December 2012

A small number of offenders who are heavily involved in drugs commit a large portion of the crime in this country. An evaluation of a "smart supervision" effort in Hawaii that uses swift and certain sanctioning showed that heavily involved drug offenders can indeed change their behavior when the supervision is properly implemented.

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.

The Evaluation of NIJ by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences: NIJ's Response

June 2011

The National Academies conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the National Institute of Justice. This panel provides an overview of the evaluation and NIJ's response to it. NIJ has accepted many of the recommendations in the NRC report, and you will learn what the agency is doing to implement them. A few of the recommendations were challenging and created considerable debate within NIJ. Plans to address these thorny issues also are discussed.

Backlogs and Their Impact on the Criminal Justice System

June 2010

Evidence backlogs have been known to be an issue in crime laboratories. A recent study published by NIJ has shown that backlogs of untested evidence are also an issue in law enforcement evidence storage. This panel will discuss the issues and present preliminary findings from a study of the Los Angeles Police Department's and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's experience with clearing out a large backlog of unanalyzed rape kits.

Elder Abuse: How Much Occurs and How Do We Measure It?

June 2009

NIJ Conference Panel
Panelists will present NIJ research on elder mistreatment in noninstitutionalized adults as well as tools for measuring the financial exploitation and psychological abuse of the elderly. A recently completed telephone survey of more than 6,500 older adults living in the community provides the most accurate estimates of the prevalence and incidence of physical, sexual, financial and emotional elder abuse. A second study used state-of-the-art science methods to develop a tool that measures the financial and psychological abuse of elders.

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.

An Examination of Justice Reinvestment and Its Impact on Two States

June 2010

Funded in part by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Pew Center on the States, the justice reinvestment project is a data-driven strategy aimed at policymakers to "reduce spending on corrections, increase public safety and improve conditions in the neighborhoods to which most people released from prison return." Representatives from two states where the justice reinvestment strategy is currently being implemented will discuss how it is being used to reduce the rate of incarceration and how states can reinvest in local communities.

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.

What Is Research and Evaluation Evidence and How Can We Use It?

June 2010

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.

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.

Sex Offenders in the Community: Post-Release, Registration, Notification and Residency Restrictions

May 2010

The management of sexual offenders in the community post-release is an issue of increasing concern to law enforcement, policymakers and the public. In recent years, efforts to strengthen registration and notification have been enhanced. At the same time, comparatively little attention has been paid to related matters, such as how residency restrictions may impact offenders' efforts to find stable work and living arrangements once they are released from prison, whether rates of recidivism have changed, and whether these policies increase the safety of potential victims.