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What NIJ Research Tells Us About Domestic Terrorism

NCJ Number
Steven Chermak; Matthew DeMichele; Jeff Gruenewald; Michael Jensen; Raven Lewis; Basia E. Lopez
Date Published
October 2023

This article discusses the results of several National Institute of Justice (NIJ)-supported domestic radicalization studies on violent extremism and the factors that influence the length and variability of radicalization processes, and concludes with a discussion of the research findings' implications for policy and practice.


Over the last 20 years, the body of research that examines terrorism and domestic violent extremism has grown exponentially. Studies have looked at the similarities and differences between radicalization to violent domestic ideologies and radicalization to foreign extremist ideologies. Research has found that radicalization processes and outcomes — and perhaps potential prevention and intervention points — vary by group structure and crime type. This NIJ Journal article discusses the findings of several National Institute of Justice-supported domestic radicalization studies that cover a range of individual and network-centered risk and protective factors that affect radicalization processes, including military involvement and online environments. This article also explores factors that shape the longevity of radicalization processes and their variation by group structure and crime type, and the article examines factors that affect pathways away from domestic extremism. The article concludes with a discussion of how these findings can inform terrorism prevention strategies, criminal justice policy, and community-based prevention programming.