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NIJ's Technology Assistance for Corrections

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 71 Issue: 4 Dated: August 2009 Pages: 48-50
Gene Atherton; Joe Russo
Date Published
August 2009
3 pages
This description of the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) technology assistance for corrections focuses on NIJ's Rocky Mountain Technology Assessment Committee, guidance on the use of "green" technologies in corrections, monitoring offender computer use while under community supervision, and the development of standards for offender tracking technology.
NIJ conducts research and development for improving the safety and effectiveness of correctional technology, provides technical assistance to personnel in the field, and serves as an information clearinghouse. NIJ also develops performance standards for critical safety equipment. In addition, it works closely with the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center - Rocky Mountain Region (NLECTC-RM). The Rocky Mountain Technology Assessment Committee (RMTAC), now in its second year of operation, helps correctional agencies anticipate technology needs, decide what technologies to buy, and learn how to use them. Technology working groups (TWGs) function within the NLECTC system in assessing the technology needs of criminal justice agencies. The Institutional Corrections TWG has recommended that the first user guide on how to evaluate, select, and use new and existing technologies focus on "green technologies." This involves an emphasis on environmentally friendly ways to design, construct, and operate correctional facilities. NIJ has also funded the development of a free software tool called Field Search, which is a powerful computer preview and evidence-gathering tool. Field Search enables probation and parole officers to scan an offender's computer and document the findings. This is a particularly useful tool for monitoring sex offenders supervised in the community. In addition, NIJ has been involved in the development of standards for over 30 years. NIJ has recently committed to the development of standards for offender tracking technology.