Office of Justice Programs Office of Justice Programs
BJA Center for Research Partnerships and Program Evaluation
BJA Center for Research Partnerships and Program Evaluation

Innovations Suite

Overview

BJA’s "Innovations Suite" of programs re-examines every aspect of the criminal justice system to identify what is working in the field to reduce crime and recidivism and make our communities safer. The Innovations Suite of programs represents a strategic approach that brings more "science" into criminal justice operations by leveraging innovative applications of analysis, technology, and evidence-based practices with the goal of improving performance and effectiveness while containing costs.

The heart of the Innovations Suite is practitioner–researcher partnerships that use data, evidence, and innovation to create strategies and interventions that are effective and economical. This data-driven approach assists jurisdictions to understand the full nature and extent of the crime challenges they are facing and to target resources to the highest priorities.

Summary

It is a BJA priority to systemically use data-driven, research-based, and innovative approaches to enhance capacity and outcomes in community safety. BJA annually invests millions of dollars in grant funds and training and technical assistance resources in its Innovations Suite of programs to identify, develop, and promote these approaches, which in turn help to build practitioner understanding and targeting of crime issues and needs. Together we reduce crime, improve community safety, reduce recidivism, and prevent unnecessary confinement.

The Innovations Suite assists criminal justice practitioners in building their capacity to develop research-based strategies and focus on program fidelity to increase chances of success. This requires practitioner agencies to enhance collection and review of data, which can then serve as a strong foundation for outcome evaluations of program interventions. In most Innovations Suite programs, the grantee is required to identify and fund a research partner to assist them in these activities. In the Smart Pretrial program, BJA is testing another approach by having the national training and technical assistance partner act as the research partner to provide services to the three Smart Pretrial sites.

The Department of Justice has a long history of supporting practitioner–researcher partnerships. This includes collaborations between BJA and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to rigorously field test criminal justice models in probation and parole (Demonstration Field Experiments), support innovative and emerging practices, and accelerate the adoption of research and evidence in the field. In the early 2000s, BJA led efforts with NIJ on the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program to promote the use of these partnerships in violence reduction planning and implementation. In 2009, BJA expanded this approach beyond PSN to partnerships with key leaders throughout the criminal justice system and focusing on a range of priority issues. These eventually became the BJA Innovations Suite.

Current BJA Innovations Suite programs are:

BJA also promotes the use of practitioner–researcher partnerships in the demonstration and replication of programs that identify, define, and respond to emerging or chronic crime problems and systemic issues. Through this initiative, BJA looks for strategies to address these issues, including trying new approaches, addressing gaps in responses, building or translating research knowledge, or building capacity. To learn more, visit www.bja.gov/FIELDINITIATED

The CBCR program supports data-driven, comprehensive and community-oriented strategies to reduce crime and spur revitalization. Visit the CBCR page to learn more.

ISI provides grants and assistance to states, units of local government, and federally recognized Indian tribes to develop, implement, and test innovative and evidence-based probation and parole practices. Visit the ISI page to learn more.

The IPS model builds off lessons learned from BJA's former crime-fighting programs and is intended to assist prosecutors develop effective strategies and programs to address violent crime. Visit the IPS page to learn more.

PDMP enhances the capacity of regulatory and law enforcement agencies to collect and analyze controlled substance prescription data. The program focuses on providing help for states that want to establish a prescription drug monitoring program. Resources are also available to states that wish to expand their existing programs. To learn more, visit www.bja.gov/PDMP

PSN is designed to create safer neighborhoods through a sustained reduction in crime associated with gang and gun violence. The program is based on the cooperation of local, state, and federal agencies engaged in a unified approach led by the U.S. Attorney (USA) in each district. The USA is responsible for establishing a collaborative PSN task force of law enforcement and other community members to implement gang and gun crime enforcement, intervention, and prevention initiatives within the district. To learn more about PSN, visit www.bja.gov/PSN.

The SCA Demonstration Program focuses on techniques to improve an offender's motivation to change and strategies to alter criminal thinking using a desistance approach. This multi-site demonstration program also provides a rigorous test of a specific reentry model intended to improve offender outcomes post-release. To learn more about BJA’s SCA Programs, visit www.bja.gov/SCA.

The objectives of this initiative are to enhance a state or local jurisdiction’s ability to provide quality representation to indigent defendants, promote innovation, and promote innovative strategies that incorporate the American Bar Association's Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System. The Ten Principles represent fundamental building blocks for implementing quality legal representation for indigent criminal defendants. To learn more about BJA’s adjudication programs, including indigent defense, visit www.bja.gov/SMARTDEFENSE.

SPI is a collaborative effort among BJA, national training and technical assistance partners, state and local law enforcement agencies, and researchers designed to assist agencies with identifying innovative and evidence-based solutions to effectively and efficiently tackle chronic crime problems in their jurisdictions. Visit the SPI page to learn more.