National Institute of Justice - History

History

NIJ Directors (and Acting Directors)
Name Dates
Ralph Siu 1968–1969
Henry Ruth 1969–1970
Irving Slott 1970–1971
Martin Danziger 1971–1973
Gerald Caplan 1973–1977
Blair Ewing 1977–1979
Harry Bratt 1979–1981
James Underwood 1981–1982
W. Robert Burkhart 1982
James K. Stewart 1982–1990
Charles B. DeWitt 1990–1993
Michael J. Russell 1993–1994
Carol V. Petrie 1994
Jeremy Travis 1994-2000
Sarah V. Hart 2001–2005
Glenn R. Schmitt 2005–June 2007
David Hagy June 2007–January 2009
Kristina Rose January 2009–June 2010
John H. Laub June 2010–present

The National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice was established in 1968, under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, as a component of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA). In 1978, it was renamed as the National Institute of Justice. Some functions of the LEAA were absorbed by NIJ on December 27, 1979, with passage of the Justice System Improvement Act of 1979. The Act, which amended the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, also led to creation of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. In 1982, the LEAA was succeeded by the Office of Justice Assistance, Research, and Statistics (1982–1984) and then the Office of Justice Programs in 1984.

NIJ is notable among U.S. governmental research organizations because it is headed by a political appointee of the President rather than by a scientist or a member of the civil service. NIJ is currently headed by John Laub.

In 2010, the United States National Research Council released a report on reforming the NIJ, and identified issues with its independence, budget, and scientific mission. While it considered making the NIJ separate from its current department, Office of Justice Programs, it recommended retaining the NIJ within the OJP but giving it increased independence and authority through clear qualifications for its director, control over its budget, and a statutory advisory board. It also recommended that the NIJ: (1) a focus on research rather than forensic capacity building activities,(2) increase funding for programs for graduate researchers, (3) increase transparency, and (4) do periodic self-assessments.

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