About NIJ


The National Institute of Justice — the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice — is dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of crime and justice issues through science. NIJ provides objective and independent knowledge and tools to reduce crime and promote justice, particularly at the state and local levels.

NIJ's pursuit of this mission is guided by the following principles:

  • Research can make a difference in individual lives, in the safety of communities and in creating a more effective and fair justice system.
  • Government-funded research must adhere to processes of fair and open competition guided by rigorous peer review.
  • NIJ's research agenda must respond to the real world needs of victims, communities and criminal justice professionals.
  • NIJ must encourage and support innovative and rigorous research methods that can provide answers to basic research questions as well as practical, applied solutions to crime.
  • Partnerships with other agencies and organizations, public and private, are essential to NIJ's success.

Strategic Goals

The National Institute of Justice is committed to being a transformative force in the criminal justice field by meeting five strategic challenges:

  1. Fostering science-based criminal justice practice — supporting rigorous scientific research to ensure the safety of families, neighborhoods and communities. Learn how NIJ tests and evaluates programs, practices and equipment.
  2. Translating knowledge to practice — disseminating rigorous scientific research to criminal justice professionals to advance what works best in preventing and reducing crime. Learn about how NIJ moves research  from knowledge to practice.
  3. Advancing technology — building a more effective, fair and efficient criminal justice system through technology. Learn about NIJ's research, development, testing and evaluation process.
  4. Working across disciplines — connecting the physical, forensic and social sciences to reduce crime and promote justice.
  5. Adopting a global perspective — understanding crime in its social context within the United States and globally.

Translational criminology is NIJ's strategy for transforming criminal justice through research. By bringing evidence to bear on crime policies and practices, NIJ forms a bridge between the work of research and the real-life challenges of fighting crime and enhancing justice. Transformation through research is a cyclical process. Continually, NIJ draws on the needs of practitioners to inform its research agenda; the cycle of transformation continues as research findings are conveyed and translated by researchers in ways that reshape practice and policy. The links in this transforming process take several forms:

Building a cumulative body of knowledge with ongoing input from practitioners, policymakers and the research community to advance policy and practice . NIJ supports research, evaluation and development in the following areas:

  • Causes and correlates of crime.
  • Crime prevention and control, increasing community safety.
  • Prevention of violence and victimization.
  • Forensic sciences, including the use of DNA evidence.
  • Corrections practice and policy, including community corrections.
  • Law enforcement, including technology, to improve police effectiveness, legitimacy, accountability and safety.
  • Courts and adjudication.

The NIJ Director

The NIJ Director is appointed by the President. The Director establishes the Institute's objectives, guided by the needs of the field and the priorities of the Office of Justice Programs and the U.S. Department of Justice. Visit the Director's Corner.

Date Modified: February 25, 2013