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The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the Office of Justice Programs of the U.S. Department of Justice. NIJ’s mission is to advance scientific research, development, and evaluation to enhance the adminis­tration of justice and public safety. NIJ’s principal authorities are derived from the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, as amended.[1]

The NIJ Director is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Director estab­lishes the Institute’s objectives, guided by the priorities of the Office of Justice Programs, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the needs of the field. The Institute actively solicits the views of criminal justice and other professionals and researchers to inform its search for the knowledge and tools to guide policy and practice.

Strategic Goals[]

NIJ has seven strategic goals grouped into three categories:

  • Creating relevant knowledge and tools
1. Partner with State and local practitioners and policymakers to identify social science research and technology needs.
2. Create scientific, relevant, and reliable knowledge — with a particular emphasis on terrorism, violent crime, drugs and crime, cost-effectiveness, and community-based efforts — to enhance the administration of justice and public safety.
3. Develop affordable and effective tools and technologies to enhance the administration of justice and public safety.
  • Dissemination
4. Disseminate relevant knowledge and information to practitioners and policymakers in an understandable, timely, and concise manner.
5. Act as an honest broker to identify the information, tools, and technologies that respond to the needs of stakeholders.
  • Agency management
6. Practice fairness and openness in the research and development process.
7. Ensure professionalism, excellence, accountability, cost-effectiveness, and integrity in the management and conduct of NIJ activities and programs.

Program Areas[]

In addressing these strategic challenges, the Institute is involved in the following program areas: crime control and prevention, including policing; drugs and crime; justice systems and offender behavior, including corrections; violence and victimization; communications and information technologies; critical incident response; investigative and forensic sciences, including DNA; less-than-lethal technologies; officer protection; education and training technologies; testing and standards; technology assistance to law enforcement and corrections agencies; field testing of promising programs; and international crime control.

In addition to sponsoring research and development and technology assistance, NIJ evaluates programs, policies, and technologies. NIJ communicates its research and evaluation findings through conferences and print and electronic media.


  1. See 42 U.S.C. §§3721–23.