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Research Into Action: The Approach of the National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

NCJ Number
Date Published
40 pages

This paper traces the development of the National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice's (NILECJ's) efforts to translate research into action in dealing with a complex social problem, i.e., criminal behavior.


Early federally supported criminal-justice research focused on solving immediate problems, and much of the research produced timely, usable findings; however, it became clear after the first decade of criminal-justice research drew to a close that NILECF's research program was unbalanced. Support for basic research, which is essential for long-term improvements, had been neglected. A realignment of NILECF's research program began in 1975, when a major new approach was adopted to emphasize long-term research on fundamental criminal justice issues. Known as the Research Agreements Program, the arrangement linked NILECJ to established research centers, principally in the academic world. It also became clear that in order to achieve balance in federally sponsored criminal-justice research, a carefully crafted research agenda was needed. Accordingly, in 1977 NILECJ began constructing an agenda for the "second generation" of criminal justice research. At the same time, it launched efforts to disseminate results from the embryonic field of criminal justice research through a publication series ("Prescriptive Package") that synthesized research findings and operational experience in a particular subject, combined with guidelines for operating a model program that reflected research findings applied effectively in criminal justice programming. In conjunction with the development of components of model programs, training in the design, execution, and evaluation of efforts to apply the model program template were established. Still, caution is advised in expecting repeated program success over time in multiple jurisdictions in times of demographic, cultural, and political change. 6 references

Date Published: January 1, 1978