A recent panel at NIJ’s 2023 National Research Conference including Dr. Tamara Herold, a senior advisor to the NIJ director; Dr. Shon Barnes, police chief of the Madison (Wisconsin) Police Department; and Dr. Kim DuMont, an expert in evidence-based policymaking and senior vice president of program at the William T. Grant Foundation, discussed how to close the gap between evidence and action to improve justice personnel decision-making and advance justice.
Closing the gap between evidence and action is key to improving justice personnel decision-making and advancing justice, and studies show that evidence is more likely to be used when it's designed with input from stakeholders and the users of that evidence and when it is internalized through a set of tools, through relationships with trustworthy researchers, and through adequate staffing and technical infrastructure. Evidence-based practices should be baked in to the organization and incentivized as part of the performance review process as well as by cultivating a culture and technical infrastructure that supports the use of research evidence. Implementation science has focused on the use of concrete or defined products and evidence-based programs. A large body of research on crime and justice is available, yet it can take years for findings to influence practice in the field. Research on research use reveals that research evidence shifts the understanding of relationships with and responses to communities, brings awareness of the entire system that research is used in, and raises questions as to why the research is being used. A recent panel at NIJ’s 2023 National Research Conference shared ideas and discussed practical steps and promising new approaches to inspire change. Dr. Tamara Herold, a senior advisor to the NIJ director, Dr. Nancy La Vigne, hosts Dr. Shon Barnes, police chief of the Madison (Wisconsin) Police Department, and Dr. Kim DuMont, an expert in evidence-based policymaking and senior vice president of program at the William T. Grant Foundation, which has supported more than 50 studies on the use of research evidence in policy or practice, and there's some very consistent findings whether you look in an education space, a justice space, child welfare, or other areas.
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