TTA Today Blog

Welcome to BJA NTTAC's TTA Today blog! TTA Today posts tell the story of training and technical assistance (TTA) engagements through individual perspectives, including those of DOJ and BJA leaders, staff, technical assistance providers, subject matter experts, community members, and other relevant stakeholders. These posts serve as an informal venue to share relevant updates or best practices from the criminal justice community, as well as to feature first-hand accounts of how TTA impacts state, local, and tribal communities across the nation.

Our nation’s law enforcement officers face unpredictable situations involving cruelty, injury, danger, and risk on a daily basis. Responding to difficult and dangerous people, working long hours and overnight shifts, and other work-related stressors take physical and emotional tolls on officers that can result in obesity, heart attacks, substance abuse, and even suicide.

Over the years, researchers and practitioners have supported the implementation of numerous policing strategies to prevent crime and increase public safety. Some of these strategies proved to be effective in preventing crime and enhancing public safety, while some showed promising outcomes that contributed to community outreach, technology adoption, crime mapping, resource allocation, and data collection. Below, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) has highlighted resources that can help law enforcement decisionmakers build awareness of effective crime reduction and policing strategies.

Prosecutors play a critical role in the criminal justice process by serving as representatives of the federal, state, or local government in adjudicating criminal offenses. Like other components of the criminal justice system, prosecutors pursue justice with the best interests of public safety in mind. Discretion allows prosecutors to determine the appropriate legal response to each case brought before them, which involves reviewing the charges against an individual arrested by the police or deciding whether an individual should be charged with an offense. With this discretion comes great responsibility and high expectations from numerous stakeholders, including the public.

Overview

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), in collaboration with the Center for Court Innovation, administers the National Community Courts Program under BJA’s larger Problem-Solving Justice Initiative. Community courts are neighborhood-focused court programs that combine the power of the community and the justice system to address local problems. 

Across the United States, criminal justice agencies have adopted various types of technology-based tools and processes to support crime prevention, law enforcement, and other aspects of the justice system. This technology adoption has included the use of hard technology, such as closed-circuit television cameras, computers in squad cars, and body-worn cameras, as well as soft technology, such as risk assessment instruments and crime mapping. However, a recent National Institute of Justice study revealed that the capacity for identifying, acquiring, and using technology tools varies both within and across justice agencies, and many jurisdictions still lack a guiding strategy for technology adoption.

Puddles, Morse code, and milk. We celebrate them each year on January 11, yet while we are splashing our friends with puddles, learning to spell our names in Morse code, and commemorating the day when milk was first delivered in sterilized glass bottles, we are also called to acknowledge an important issue impacting thousands of people across every country: human trafficking. The U.S. Senate established the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness by a Senate resolution in 2007 to raise awareness and opposition to human trafficking.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) offers a wide array of violence reduction information and resources to criminal justice agencies, policymakers, and practitioners, yet many agencies in need of assistance may struggle with navigating available resources and determining the appropriate DOJ points of contact for specific topics. In June 2018, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) launched the DOJ Violence Reduction Response Center (VRRC) to connect state, local, and tribal justice agencies, victims’ groups, and others with crime reduction training and technical assistance (TTA) resources offered by DOJ.

According to provisional counts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses – including illicit drugs and prescription opioids – killed more than 72,000 Americans in 2017, a 2-fold increase in 10 years. The devastating impact of the opioid epidemic is felt not just in families, over the loss of lives, but in law enforcement, health care, schools, and virtually every other segment of society. Responding to this epidemic is one of the U.S. Department of Justice’s top priorities.

Criminal justice agencies use risk assessments to assist with the allocation of limited resources to manage and rehabilitate people at various stages of the criminal justice system: from judges using risk assessment to inform decisions about pretrial detention or release, to probation officers using it to calibrate the intensity of supervision and guide assignment to rehabilitative programming. The increasingly widespread and diverse use of risk assessment has given rise to a varied and dispersed body of commentary, research, and best practice guidance.

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