Saturday, December 13, 2008

National Institute of Justice

I spent Thursday and Friday in Washington DC at a small roundtable convened by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). NIJ brought together a handful of criminal justice wonks (including the heads of the National Center for Victims of Crime, Vera Institute of Justice, Police Executive Research Forum and others) to brainstorm about how NIJ can do a better job of encouraging practitioners to read their research -- and change their practice as a result. As is often the case, I feel like I learned more than I contributed. Todd Clear, a professor at John Jay, wrote a briefing paper for the event that basically encouraged NIJ to "take a deep breath" and acknowledge they are doing a decent job of disseminating knowledge to the field. I left the event thinking that Clear was probably right, although there is always room for improvement, particularly when it comes to reaching practitioners (as opposed to academics).