Those working in the criminal justice system should always use research and evidence to inform their policies, practices, and work. However, leaders often need to make decisions based on limited information and under unpredictable or even volatile circumstances. Sometimes there simply isn’t research available yet to help inform decisions on emerging issues.
NIJ has played a critical role in informing criminal justice policy and practice since its inception in 1968. This special edition of the NIJ Journal commemorates the Institute’s 50th anniversary. The articles highlight the history, evolution, and role of NIJ research over the past half-century across the full spectrum of criminal justice issues and look ahead to the next 50 years of rigorous research.
T.K. Logan discusses her study that looked at the impact of civil protective orders for domestic violence victims in five Kentucky jurisdictions. Civil protective orders, sometimes known as restraining orders, may cover various situations, such as ordering an assailant to avoid a victim's home and workplace or forbidding any contact with the victim, including by mail or telephone.
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.