Highlights from the 2012 NIJ Conference

On this page find:

Overview of the Conference

Turning to Science:

  • Enhancing Justice
  • Improving Safety
  • Reducing Costs

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the 2012 NIJ Conference! More than 1,500 people registered for the Conference, held June 18-20, in Arlington, Virginia.

This year the NIJ Conference focused on ways policymakers and practitioners can use scientific methods and evidence-based practices to save criminal justice system funds.

The conference featured seven breakout session tracks:

  • Corrections
  • Courts and Sentencing
  • Forensic Science
  • Policing and Public Safety
  • Shaping the Future
  • Technology
  • Violence and Victimization

Opening Plenary Panel, June 18, 2012

Game Change: How Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships Are Redefining How We Study Crime
When researchers and practitioners work side by side, they can maximize their problem-solving abilities. The research partner can focus on the data and the science; the practitioner can focus on interpreting the findings and applying them in the field. In the plenary panel, panelists described the benefits, challenges and pitfalls of researcher-practitioner partnerships with a focus on the financial benefits to the practitioner.


  • Jeff Rojek, Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina
  • Tami Sullivan, Assistant Professor, Yale University School of Medicine
  • Vivian Tseng, Vice President, Program, William T. Grant Foundation
  • Moderator: John H. Laub, Director, National Institute of Justice

Keynote Speaker, June 19, 2012

Joan Petersilia, Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
Looking Back to See the Future of Prison Downsizing in America
The recent declines in U.S. prison populations have caused many reformers to suggest that America’s experiment with mass incarceration is ending. But current prison downsizing policies may well backfire if we fail to heed the lessons learned from the intermediate sanctions movement of the 1990s. In the event attendees rated highest, Dr. Petersilia summarized these lessons and discussed why we must consider them if we want to reverse — for good — four decades of prison expansion.

Closing Plenary Panel, June 20, 2012

Protecting Our Protectors: Using Science to Improve Officer Safety and Wellness
Each year, 100-200 law enforcement officers die in the line of duty. Last year, 177 lost their lives — a 16-percent increase from 2010. As Attorney General Eric Holder noted, this is a devastating and unacceptable trend. NIJ has developed a robust research portfolio to improve officer safety and wellness and, ultimately, save lives. This panel discussed some of NIJ’s most promising work to reduce shooting and traffic-related fatalities — consistently the leading causes of officer line-of-duty deaths — and improve officer wellness, which is inextricably linked with officer safety.


  • Bryan Vila, Professor, Washington State University
  • Carrick Williams, Associate Professor, Mississippi State University
  • Karen Amendola, Chief Operating Officer, Police Foundation
  • John Violanti, Research Professor, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
  • Moderator: Chief Walter McNeil, President, International Association of Chiefs of Police

Note: There will be no NIJ Conference in 2013; we are considering alternatives.

Date Modified: November 14, 2012