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NIJ's 50th Anniversary - Looking Back, Looking Forward

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2018
13 pages
This video and its transcript cover a "Research for the Real World" event in which panelists review and discuss the history and future of the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) on its 50th anniversary, with a focus on its mission of prioritizing, funding, and promoting criminal justice research.
John Laub, former Director of the National Institute of Justice, reviews NIJ's critical role in providing funding for rigorous scientific research projects that are relevant to practitioners and policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels. He mentions several instances from the past in which NIJ research showed that popular assumptions about what is effective in criminal justice policy were proven by rigorous NIJ-supported evaluations to be ineffective. He then cites research that has fostered developmental and life-course criminology, advances in law enforcement safety, changes in policing models, crime prevention, and a general framework for setting research priorities for the future. James "CHIPS" Stewart, another former NIJ Director, discusses the foundational concept of NIJ, which is to demonstrate that rigorous research should inform policy and improve justice by bringing research-based change in American policing, courts, and corrections. He reviews some of the NIJ consequential research conducted during the 9 years he was its director. Hank Stawinski, Chief of the Prince George's County Police Department (Maryland), and Scott Thomson, Chief of the Camden County Police Department (New Jersey), review some of the constructive changes in police safety and operations they have experienced and observed due to NIJ research. These include the promotion and improvement in police body armor, improvement in police understanding of what causes and prevents crime, as well as a focus on how police can improve public safety by collaborating with multidisciplinary community agencies.

Date Published: July 1, 2018