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National Institute of Justice - The Research, Development, and Evaluation Agency of the U.S. Department of Justice   NIJ
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Advance scientific research, development, and evaluation to enhance the administration of justice and public safety.

What Is NIJ?

NIJ is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice and is dedicated to researching crime control and justice issues. NIJ provides objective, independent, evidence-based knowledge and tools to meet the challenges of crime and justice, particularly at the State and local levels. NIJ's principal authorities are derived from the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, as amended (see 42 USC 3721-3723) and Title II of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

The NIJ Director is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The NIJ 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.


The National Institute of Justice reorganized in January 2003 to be more effective, efficient, and flexible. The new structure reflects several key principles:

  • Emphasize outcome and cost-benefit evaluations of criminal justice programs and technologies.
  • Place Institute-wide functions in the Office of the Director.
  • Group similar functions.
  • Reduce management layers and increase the span of control of supervisors, where possible.
  • Keep the social and physical sciences together under one research agency to maximize collaboration, cost-effectiveness, and the benefits to the field.

The reorganization streamlined NIJ's structure from three operating offices to two. It improved coordination and reduced management layers by integrating the functions of the former Office of Development and Communications into the Office of Research and Evaluation and the Office of the Director.

The reorganization also created an Evaluation Division within the Office of Research and Evaluation to oversee NIJ evaluations of other agencies' programs and to develop policies and procedures that establish standards for assuring quality and utility of evaluations.

The reorganization maintained a strong Office of Science and Technology. This office manages technology research and development, development of technical standards, testing, forensic sciences capacity building, and technology assistance to State and local law enforcement and corrections agencies.

The directors of the Office of Research and Evaluation and the Office of Science and Technology were named Assistant Directors of NIJ. This change better reflects their work and management responsibilities.

National Institute of Justice Office of The Director Office of Science and Technology Office of Research and Evaluation
(Click on the chart for descriptions of each office.)

Sarah V. Hart, DirectorGlenn R. Schmitt, Deputy Director

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Strategic Goals and Program Areas

NIJ has seven strategic goals in 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.


  1. Disseminate relevant knowledge and information to practitioners and policy makers in an understandable, timely, and concise manner.
  2. Act as an honest broker to identify the information, tools, and technologies that respond to the needs of stakeholders.

Agency management

  1. Practice fairness and openness in the research and development process.
  2. Ensure professionalism, excellence, accountability, cost-effectiveness, and integrity in the management and conduct of NIJ activities and programs.

To address these strategic challenges, the Institute has established 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 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.

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Job Opportunities

For a complete list of NIJ and other Office of Justice Program (OJP) job openings, go to OJP's Job Opportunities web page.

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