U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Overview of NIJ (National Institute of Justice) and Research and Scientific Principles and How Political Interests Set the Research Agenda

NCJ Number
Date Published
11 pages
The director of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) explains the role and research activities of NIJ and the use of its research in policymaking.
NIJ is the main Federal sponsor of criminal justice research in the United States. Its research on career criminals has led to the idea of focusing criminal justice resources selectively on career criminals. Its research on the link between drug abuse and individual rates of offending has led to court-supervised drug testing. Its efforts have helped produce a growing consensus regarding the value of criminal justice research. Awareness of the costs of crime and criminal justice, growing collaboration between researchers and policymakers, and reorganizing the method of allocating research funds have also helped build this consensus. The result has been growing respect for NIJ and its contributions over the last 20 years. NIJ has also developed a corp of talented research specialists at the modest cost of only 8 cents per capita, compared to $36 for health research. A greater commitment will be needed to maintain momentum for the future.

Date Published: January 1, 1988