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T  he Nebraska Center for Justice Research (NCJR) was established in 2014 with a mission to develop and sustain criminal justice research capacity internal to the State of Nebraska. Our goal is to assist the Legislature, justice agencies, practitioners, foundations, and stakeholders with research and evaluation to reduce recidivism, promote the use of evidence-based practices, and improve public safety. This annual report summarizes the activities and financial status of NCJR in the 2019-2020 fiscal year. In this past year, NCJR once again crafted our Adult Justice in Nebraska report to provide a foundation of data trends in areas such as law enforcement and corrections for the Legislature at the beginning of the legislative session. In addition, I testified to the Judiciary Committee in September to inform an interim study (LR 204) focusing on the effectiveness of Nebraska’s sex offender registry, a process I evaluated in 2012-3. Also, I testified in November (LR 237) regarding best practices for Nebraska’s Vocational and Life Skills reentry initiative, which NCJR has evaluated from 2014 until the present. The NCJR evaluation team produced monthly reports, quarterly reports, an annual report, as well as a special qualitative report documenting the great work of this initiative. Regarding NCJR’s academic mission, our faculty and graduate students placed multiple publications in academic journals and presented at the annual conferences of the American Society of Criminology and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Unfortunately, three additional national conferences were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, precluding our participation. NCJR faculty and staff also had a very successful year of publishing in academic journals, including Justice Quarterly; Policing and Society; Corrections: Policy, Practice and Research; The Prison Journal; Criminal Justice Policy Review; and Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice. From a budgetary standpoint, we continue to be encouraged by the well-balanced budgetary profile of NCJR that includes state funding, contracts with local agencies, federal grants, and funding by local foundations. The diversity of our funding profile not only broadens the impact of our research, technical assistance, and evaluation activities across the state, but also allows us to provide “matching” funding for products that benefit from both public and private dollars. In particular, we were very excited with our success in securing federal grant projects. NCJR faculty are secondary investigators on a $566,259 National Institute of Justice grant, in collaboration with Project Harmony, to expand the knowledge base of child advocacy centers. NCJR also collaborated with Nebraska Parole to secure a $553,445 Bureau of Justice Assistance grant to enhance Nebraska’s use of evidence-based practices to reduce violent recidivism among persons under community supervision. Our state appropriation is only 39% of our budget, suggesting that for every state dollar invested, NCJR attracts between one and two additional dollars in external funds. In summary, 2019-2020 was another productive year with a substantial output of research, evaluation, and academic products. In addition, we continue to build research partnerships, collaborations, and relationships with agency and community stakeholders. The local justice systems and reentry professionals who collaborate with us on this important work are all facing significant struggles to deal safely with the COVID-19 pandemic, and NCJR is dedicated to do everything possible to promote personal safety and public safety during these challenging times.



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