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.

by: Julia Ryan, Community Safety Initiatives Director, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

“How about hostile vegetation?” It’s not a question you hear every day. But when asked by a police officer in a crime prevention training in Houston, TX, it launched an intense discussion about whether thorny rose bushes could deter burglars from entering ground floor windows in a new residential property. Not a typical police response to a crime problem, right?

by: David J. Roberts, Senior Program Manager, IACP Technology Center Modern technology has become a crucial element in the daily lives of people all around the world and, in many respects, it is improving our quality of life. In healthcare, technology is helping doctors diagnose diseases earlier in their patients. For law enforcement, technology is playing a critical role in the daily work of officers in the field, equipping them with enforcement and investigative tools that can make them safer, better informed, and more efficient and effective.
By: Suzette McLeod, BJA NTTAC Deputy Director The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) just launched a new online tool that helps BJA’s TTA partners further coordinate their efforts to serve the nation’s state, local, and tribal justice professionals. BJA’s TTA providers offer enhanced value to the field when their expertise is augmented by the awareness of other program and partner activities and resources. BJA is looking forward to leveraging the new TTA Collaboration Portal to enable and enhance collaboration across BJA’s diverse community of TTA providers.


There are nearly seven million people involved with the criminal justice system in the United States: individuals who have either been in jail or prison, or who are on probation or parole. Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), members of this population – many of whom suffer from substantial substance use disorders, mental health issues, and chronic health conditions – had little to no health insurance coverage. In many states, the ACA expands Medicaid eligibility to extremely low-income people (household income up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line). Consequently, many people who are involved with the criminal justice system will now be eligible for Medicaid coverage.

By: Kim Ball, BJA Policy Advisor Last year, our nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright (1963). This case unanimously established that the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that states appoint lawyers for those accused of a crime that carries a potential loss of liberty who cannot afford to hire an attorney. In the years since Gideon, state governments and policymakers have struggled with finding the most effective ways to make their courts fair, promote public safety and fiscal responsibility, and ensure quality representation for all defendants at every stage of a criminal proceeding. Last year, to help state policymakers and legislators evaluate their public defense services, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) committed $90,000 to technical assistance to help several states meet their constitutional obligations to provide quality legal representation for all defendants.


In recent years, state and local budgets have become increasingly strained, forcing policymakers to make tough funding decisions about programs. Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is an analytical tool policymakers can use to inform budget planning and compare investment options. A significant advantage of CBA is that both costs and benefits are expressed in monetary terms, so they can be directly compared. Many state and local policymakers are working to create and sustain capacity to conduct cost-benefit studies and make effective use of CBA results in program assessment and budgeting.


A law enforcement career is undoubtedly one of the noblest of callings. Men and women embark on careers in law enforcement to serve the public, uphold laws, protect the innocent, and maintain peace and order in their communities. The pursuit to serve and protect comes with many stresses and pressures for police officers, which includes putting their lives on the line. Policing can be a psychologically stressful job filled with uncertainty and risk, extreme challenge and high expectations, and demanding work hours. The inherent dangers and pressures of police work put officers at higher risk for suicide, divorce, early death, and low job satisfaction. The negative risks of law enforcement can adversely impact morale and police officers often lose sight of the reasons they were called to serve.

By: Suzette McLeod, BJA NTTAC Deputy Program Director The fundamental message behind the adage “two minds are better than one” is that the collective efforts of a group can achieve more than one person working independently. When people with similar interests or common goals get together to exchange information and ideas, the group is more knowledgeable and better equipped to achieve their goals. To support collective knowledge-sharing and collaboration among its training and technical assistance (TTA) providers, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) is establishing Communities of Interest to provide a way to connect providers that share common focus areas.

By: Julie McGregor, BJA NTTAC Director of Communications In a time when many criminal justice agencies are asked to do more with shrinking budgets and limited resources, it’s important that they to know how to locate available resources to make smart, cost-effective decisions while promoting public safety. The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) is committed to being responsive to the emerging needs of the criminal justice field by bridging the gap between communities in need and available training and technical assistance (TTA) resources. To fulfill this goal, BJA NTTAC has identified four new TTA initiatives, including the Crime Analysis on Demand TTA program. Through crime analysis on demand, BJA NTTAC will offer law enforcement agencies TTA resources to enhance their capabilities to analyze and use data to make informed decisions to prevent and effectively respond to crime. This includes conducting needs assessments, providing recommendations to address analytical gaps, and offering comprehensive training for crime analysts.


Currently, there are thousands of people in prisons and jails who suffer from chronic diseases, mental health issues, and substance use disorders. Generally, when these individuals reenter the community, they do not receive the necessary care for their health conditions because they lack health care coverage. In most states, they are not eligible for health care under current state health benefit polices. These individuals then turn to emergency services as their primary outlet to receive medical treatment.