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.
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.
A disproportionate number of people who interact with the criminal justice system are persons with mental health disorders and intellectual and developmental disabilities, often prompting specialized responses from law enforcement and criminal justice agencies.
In 2016, the city of Chicago, Illinois experienced 768 homicides, representing a nearly 60 percent increase from the previous year. With the recent dramatic increase in violent crime – particularly homicides committed with firearms – Superintendent of Police Eddie Johnson and city leaders recognized the need to enhance their crimefighting strategy.
Since 2011, Erie County, New York has experienced a 15 percent decrease in total arrests, part of an overall reduction in violent crime arrest and sentencing rates. However, Erie County officials noticed that its reentry population – defined as adults returning from federal, state, and local correctional agencies – experienced a dramatic increase in parole revocations.