U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
National Institute of Justice
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Resources:   About the National Institute of Justice

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), a component of the Office of Justice Programs, is the research agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. Created by the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, as amended, NIJ is authorized to support research, evaluation, and demonstration programs, development of technology, and both national and international information dissemination. Specific mandates of the Act direct NIJ to:

  • Sponsor special projects, and research and development programs, that will improve and strengthen the criminal justice system and reduce or prevent crime.

  • Conduct national demonstration projects that employ innovative or promising approaches for improving criminal justice.

  • Develop new technologies to fight crime and improve criminal justice.

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of criminal justice programs and identify programs that promise to be successful if continued or repeated.

  • Recommend actions that can be taken by Federal, State, and local governments as well as by private organizations to improve criminal justice.

  • Carry out research on criminal behavior.

  • Develop new methods of crime prevention and reduction of crime and delinquency.

In recent years, NIJ has greatly expanded its initiatives, the result of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (the Crime Act), partnerships with other Federal agencies and private foundations, advances in technology, and a new international focus. Some examples of these new initiatives:

  • New research and evaluation are exploring key issues in community policing, violence against women, sentencing reforms, and specialized courts such as drug courts.

  • Dual-use technologies are being developed to support national defense and local law enforcement needs.

  • The causes, treatment, and prevention of violence against women and violence within the family are being investigated in cooperation with several agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • NIJ's links with the international community are being strengthened through membership I the United Nations network of criminological institutes; participation in developing the U.N. Criminal Justice Information Network; initiation of UNOJUST ) U.N. Online Justice Clearinghouse), which electronically links the institutes to the U.N. Network; and establishment of an NIJ International Center.

  • The NIJ-administered criminal justice information clearinghouse, the world's largest, has improved its online capability.

  • The Institute's Drug Use Forecasting (DUF) program has been expanded and enhanced. Renamed ADAM (Arrest Drug Abuse Monitoring), the program will increase the number of drug-testing sites, and its role as a "platform" for studying drug-related crime will grow.

  • NIJ's new Crime Mapping Research Center will provide training in computer mapping technology, collect and archive geocoded crime data, and develop analytic software.

  • The Institute's program of intramural research has been expanded and enhanced.

The Institute Director, who is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, establishes the Institute's objectives, guided by the priorities of the Office of Justice Programs, the Department of Justice, and the needs of the criminal justice field. The Institute actively solicits the views of criminal justice professionals and researchers in the continuing search for answers that inform public policymaking in crime and justice.

 



Research Report:   The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools