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Safety, Health, and Wellness Strategic Research Plan

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Cover of the Safety, Health, and Wellness Strategic Plan, links to PDF version
Date Published
March 14, 2018

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NIJ has developed the Safety, Health, and Wellness Strategic Research Plan to describe the current and projected efforts of NIJ to promote the safety, health, and wellness of individuals affected by, or employed within, the criminal justice system. This document will be of interest to researchers (academic, governmental, and industry); federal, state, local, and international government partners; and justice policymakers and practitioner communities. Findings from activities that fall within this strategic research plan will be disseminated among these constituents and partners in ways designed to achieve the greatest impact.

NIJ's Safety, Health, and Wellness Mission:

NIJ’s mission for safety, health, and wellness is dedicated to the development of knowledge and tools to promote safety, health, and wellness for law enforcement officers, individuals under the supervision of the criminal justice system, as well as those in contact with or affected directly or indirectly by the criminal justice system.

A Call for Collaboration

The research directions included within this strategic research plan intentionally span many scientific disciplines. The breadth of research is driven by the magnitude of questions that need to be addressed within the criminal justice system. NIJ envisions that the research resulting from this agenda will require both interdisciplinary collaboration and partnerships between traditional researchers and the practitioner community. Finally, mirroring the need for collaboration among researchers, NIJ will seek partnerships with other federal agencies and institutions that support research relevant to criminal justice applications. These partnerships should include: co-sponsoring research awards; convening meetings to bring key players together; and providing criminal justice system expertise to discussions and meetings pertaining to safety, health, and wellness.

Strategic Priority I: Promote Research to Improve Safety Within the Criminal Justice System

NIJ is committed to building a knowledge base focused on the safety of individuals employed within criminal justice occupations, as well as individuals under the supervision of the criminal justice system, and members of the public as they interact with the system.


The National Institute of Justice has played an ongoing role in the development of equipment, standards, technologies, and practices to improve officer safety within the criminal justice system. These investments have included the development of ballistic vests, studies of in-vehicle safety, and the evaluation of less-lethal technologies to increase police and public safety. NIJ will continue to promote research to further police and correctional officer safety in their unique work environment. Additionally, NIJ will continue its focus on examining the safety of incarcerated populations and the public as they interact with the criminal justice system.


The objectives supporting Strategic Priority I build on strengths that NIJ has developed over decades. NIJ has formed strong partnerships with research organizations throughout the United States, which support research on safety in criminal justice occupations, and for individuals who come in contact with the criminal justice system. NIJ will continue to work with partners, including other federal agencies, to develop improved technologies, standards, and practices to support safety. NIJ will continue to assess the safety needs within criminal justice settings, as well as opportunities for improvement.

Related to individuals working in criminal justice occupations

  • Objective I.1: Promote vehicular and traffic safety for officers.
  • Objective I.2: Support development, and promote strategies, policies, practices, and technologies that enhance the safety of criminal justice personnel.

Related to criminal justice interactions with incarcerated populations

  • Objective I.3: Study the unique safety concerns presented by correctional settings.

Related to criminal justice interactions with the public

  • Objective I.4: Develop policies, strategies, and technologies to promote safety in criminal justice interactions with the public.
  • Objective I.5: Develop knowledge, systems, and technologies that increase the safety of schools.

Strategic Priority II: Support Research of Health and Wellness of Individuals Within the Criminal Justice System

National Institute of Justice, "Safety, Health, and Wellness Strategic Research Plan," March 14, 2018, nij.ojp.gov:
Date Created: March 14, 2018