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Identifying the Needs and Challenges of Criminal Justice Agencies in Small, Rural, Tribal, and Border Areas

NCJ Number
Date Published
164 pages
This study reports on information collected on the challenges faced by criminal justice agencies in small, rural, tribal, and border-area (SRTB) communities, including the identification of relevant technology solutions.
This study used a variety of methods, including a literature review, in-depth interviews with approximately 10 practitioners and topical experts, and focused discussions with an advisory panel of expert practitioners. The literature review produced findings on the general criminal justice challenges faced by SRTB agencies, but did not find much research on their technology needs or how technology might bring increased effectiveness, more efficient use of resources, or improved safety for criminal justice personnel. The in-depth interviews revealed a broad range of operational challenges that clustered around a few central themes, including challenges and barriers related to geography, types of crimes common in these communities, funding, personnel, infrastructure, information technology, data-sharing and communication, and legal and policy issues. For many SRTB agencies, the rarity of discretionary funding available for technology acquisitions, along with lack of technological infrastructure and training opportunities, contributes to the slow adoption of potential technology solutions. These themes were particularly evident among court and corrections respondents. Information obtained from the interviews was used to develop the agenda and discussion topics for an advisory panel meeting, which was tasked with identifying and prioritizing a set of science- and technology-related needs of SRTB criminal justice agencies. The advisory panel identified a range of needs for each agency type. The focal areas of discussion were information technology (records management systems and data-sharing capabilities), operations (daily job requirements), and funding and geographic issues. 18 tables, 3 figures, 150-item bibliography, and appended methodological supplements

Date Published: January 1, 2016