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The challenges of crime and justice are rarely one-dimensional and thus do not easily lend themselves to one-dimensional solutions. Technology is never the sole remedy, but it can usually help enhance a solution. Additionally, although social and behavioral science can answer pertinent questions, such as understanding the impact of a technology on a particular challenge, it cannot develop the technology's potential to address that challenge.
This issue of the NIJ Journal highlights this understanding of the multidimensional nature of crime and justice through a series of articles on corrections research. One article, "Identifying Technology Needs and Innovations to Advance Corrections," features NIJ-funded work on how technology might help address the most pressing issues confronting corrections today, such as the demographic shift among people under supervision.
A second article outlines NIJ's multidisciplinary approach to promoting the safety, health, and wellness of individuals involved with the criminal justice system. Fostering these areas within the correctional environment, however, can prove challenging. Two articles discuss research on these challenges: The first explores the impact of parental incarceration on dependent children; in the second, a principal investigator revisits her study on the health and wellness effects of administrative segregation.
Other articles in this issue explore how technology can be used to help manage individuals under supervision: radio-frequency identification tags can monitor the location of individuals in an institution, and computer-based performance management information systems (PMISs) can identify and help deal with officers who are at risk of misconduct or poor performance. PMISs are a particularly good example of why an interdisciplinary approach is needed, because they require the development of software to identify at-risk officers as well as evidence-based interventions to address that risk.
Finally, "The Role of Equipment Performance Standards in Correctional Settings" discusses the recently published NIJ performance standard for electronic monitoring systems that are used to manage individuals under community supervision and performance standards for officer safety technologies.
As Acting Director Howard Spivak explains, NIJ is embarking on more interdisciplinary work, and our offices remain committed to working together on complementary topics. We are pleased to present the first collaborative NIJ Journal to demonstrate our commitment to cross-NIJ efforts.
Chris Tillery, Director of NIJ's Office of Science and Technology
Seri Irazola, Director of NIJ's Office of Research and Evaluation