U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. Innovation. Partnerships. Safer Neighborhoods.
Justice Resource Update. Advancing the Field of Criminal Justice. AUGUST 2010
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Effective Partnerships: Listening and Learning

Photo of Laurie O. Robinson, Assistant Attorney GeneralOne of the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) first, and most important, responsibilities is to listen to the people in the fields of criminal and juvenile justice—and to make sure they are heard. We cannot be on the front lines policing neighborhoods, supporting victims, mentoring children, or running criminal and juvenile justice programs, but we can ensure that the people who respond to our nation’s public safety needs have a responsive federal partner.

Last year, we held several listening sessions with criminal and juvenile justice agencies, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, private foundations, and tribal leaders. Together, we established common goals and clear priorities.

Since then, we have remained focused on these goals and have made some remarkable strides. For example, we heard many times how much we need alternatives to incarceration for drug-addicted offenders, and we heard a lot about one thing that is working—drug courts. In this issue, you’ll learn about some new resources for drug courts.

We heard a lot of great ideas during our listening sessions, but these meetings weren’t the only opportunity to share your thoughts. More than anything, we are committed to listening every day. Please send in your questions, comments, or feedback. We are listening.

IN THIS ISSUE
Bullet Effective Partnerships: Listening and Learning
Bullet New Leaders Confirmed for NIJ and BJS
Bullet National Academies Panel Assesses NIJ
Bullet New Web Site Focuses on Drug Courts
Bullet National Crime Victimization Survey Cost-Savings Recommendations
Bullet Reports of Identity Theft Increased
Bullet Juvenile Court Statistics Released
Bullet Mark Your Calendar
New Leaders Confirmed for NIJ and BJS

The U.S. Senate confirmed the new directors of OJP’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

John H. Laub, Ph.D., is the first criminologist in 40 years to serve as NIJ director. He was a professor with the University of Maryland’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and a visiting scholar at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. His areas of research include longitudinal studies of crime and deviance over the life course, juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice, and the history of criminology. He is also a former president of the American Society of Criminology.

James P. Lynch, Ph.D., is the new director of BJS. He was distinguished professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at John Jay College in New York and a professor in the Department of Justice, Law, and Society at American University, where he also served as chair of the Department. Throughout his career, Lynch has focused on measurement issues in criminal justice data and statistics. His work with Al Biderman on the nation’s two crime measures—the Uniform Crime Report and the National Crime Victimization Survey—is the authoritative source comparing national crime statistics.

National Academies Panel Assesses NIJ

An expert panel that conducted an independent evaluation of NIJ identified a number of strengths and weaknesses and called for fundamental reforms. The panel also recommended a significant increase in funding for criminal justice research.

The report by the National Research Council of the National Academies noted that NIJ research has broken important ground in such varied areas as hot spots policing, violence against women, and forensic DNA analysis, and recommended a number of changes that would improve NIJ’s structure and effectiveness. For example, the panel recommended strengthening the independence of the research agency by instituting an advisory board and a set term of office for the NIJ director. It also recommended that NIJ focus more on basic research and transfer its forensic capacity-building programs to another agency.

The panel recommended that NIJ nurture the pool of criminal justice researchers using a variety of means, such as increasing support for graduate education. It also urged NIJ to strive for greater transparency and timeliness in its research efforts. Additionally, the panel suggested NIJ create a culture of self-assessment, regularly measuring the influence of its programs on research and practice in the criminal justice field.

NIJ commissioned the evaluation and is carefully reviewing its recommendations. "We welcome the constructive suggestions in the evaluation of NIJ by the National Academy of Sciences," said Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson. "We are already working with NIJ’s new director, Dr. John H. Laub, to use the recommendations to create a blueprint for the future goals and priorities of the agency."

Copies of the report are available online.

New Web Site Focuses on Drug Courts

OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), in partnership with the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, recently launched the online National Drug Court Resource Center. By providing information, support, and networking opportunities, this new site will help drug court professionals, policymakers, clients, and citizens nationwide understand drug courts and use them more effectively.

Drug courts use the coercive power of the courts to help low-level, nonviolent offenders get treatment. There are currently more than 2,000 drug courts in the United States, and they have been shown to reduce recidivism rates and prison expenditures, while holding offenders accountable for completing a treatment program.

The Resource Center is a repository for a variety of information on drug courts, including research findings, funding opportunities, trainings, and announcements. Soon it will feature webinars, blogs, and a live chat about drug courts. Visit the Resource Center to learn more.

National Crime Victimization Survey Cost-Savings Recommendations

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) Cost Savings Task Force, made up of staff from BJS and the U.S. Census Bureau, recently presented its recommendations on how to make the survey more cost effective. The Task Force worked to identify the most promising options for survey cost reductions, with a particular interest in those that could be applied in the near future to the current survey design.

NCVS provides vital information on the frequency, characteristics, and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States. Data for the NCVS are obtained twice each year from a nationally representative sample of approximately 49,000 households.

Key near- and long-term recommendations of the Task Force included: developing and implementing a responsive survey design incorporating paradata (data on the interview process) and cost data; establishing a business model driven by balancing cost efficiency and data quality; refining the sample design to oversample areas with higher incidence of crime victimization; and evaluating the panel design to determine a cost-effective balance of time-in-sample and cost per interview.

The Task Force is part of BJS’s ongoing efforts to redesign the NCVS to improve its methodology, assure its sustainability, and increase its value to national and local stakeholders.

Reports of Identity Theft Increased

A BJS analysis of NCVS data about identity theft showed that from 2005 to 2007, reports of identity theft increased from 5.5 percent of households to 6.6 percent of households. In 2007, 7.9 million households, or about 6.6 percent of all households in the United States, reported that at least one member of the household had been a victim of one or more types of identity theft. The full results are available online.

More information about OJP’s efforts to combat identity theft will be featured in the next issue of Justice Resource Update.

Juvenile Court Statistics Released

The National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) recently published Juvenile Court Statistics, 2006–2007 (NCJ 230105). The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) funds the annual report.

The report describes trends in delinquency cases that more than 2,100 juvenile courts processed between 1985 and 2007 and status offense cases they handled between 1995 and 2007. It also profiles the almost 1.7 million juvenile court cases handled during 2006 and 2007. Comprehensive information about juvenile cases will help policymakers, practitioners, and researchers in their efforts to enhance the juvenile justice system.

To supplement the report and increase its utility for practitioners, NCJJ and OJJDP have also developed three Web-based data analysis and dissemination applications. These tools provide access to the data in the report, making it easier for researchers to perform independent analyses without software, view additional preformatted tables, and view results by state and county.

All of these applications are available in OJJDP’s Statistical Briefing Book. The full report is available online.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Financial Management Training Seminars

OJP’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer offers 2-day financial management training seminars throughout the country for individuals responsible for the financial administration of discretionary or formula grants.

Registration is still open for the two remaining seminars in 2010. The first is being held in Austin, Texas, on November 3–4, 2010. The final 2010 seminar is scheduled for December 8–9, 2010, in Washington, D.C.

2011 National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is accepting nominations for the 2011 National Crime Victims’ Service Awards through September 15, 2010. The Attorney General presents these awards annually in recognition of outstanding victim service providers and programs. The 2011 awards ceremony will be April 8 in Washington, D.C. Nominations can be submitted online.

National Center for Victims of Crime Conference

Featuring skill-building, research-focused workshops, multidisciplinary presenters, and networking opportunities, the National Center for Victims of Crime Annual Conference is ideal for victim service providers and advocates, law enforcement officials, researchers, educators, and allied professionals. The conference is being held in New Orleans, Louisiana, from September 14–16, 2010. Registration is available online.

National Native American Law Enforcement Association Training

On September 14–16, 2010, the National Native American Law Enforcement Association will hold its Annual Training in Las Vegas, Nevada. Registration information is available online.

Project Safe Neighborhoods Anti-Gang Training

The Institute for Intergovernmental Research will hold a Project Safe Neighborhoods Anti-Gang Training on September 28–30, 2010, in Detroit, Michigan. Project Safe Neighborhoods Anti-Gang Training is funded by BJA; therefore, there is no fee for registration. Online registration is open.

Supporting Crime Victims With Disabilities

Victim service professionals who work with victims of crime who have disabilities and professionals from the disability community are invited to attend the Supporting Crime Victims With Disabilities Training hosted by OVC’s Training and Technical Assistance Center. The training will be held October 5–7, 2010, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Funding Opportunities

OJP’s Web site includes a complete list of all open solicitations. You can also review the entire 2010 Program Plan for comprehensive information about opportunities throughout the year. Don’t forget to check the Web site regularly for updates.

Contact Us

If you have questions, comments, or feedback, please contact OJP’s Office of Communications.

Justice Resource Update is designed to help criminal justice practitioners stay informed and better serve their constituents by providing valuable information about federal resources, advancements in the field, and training opportunities. We strive to provide information you can use, and we welcome your input.

E-mail: AskOJP
Web site: www.ojp.gov
Phone: 202-307-0703