The 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 inaugural annual report summarizes the activities and financial status of NCJR in its first year. From a research standpoint, we are very excited about the reports our Center has produced in its inaugural year. For example, we created a Trends in Adult Justice report that will be distributed annually to the Legislature at the beginning of the legislative session. We also produced a study in response to Legislative Resolution 520, which outlined the impact of Colorado’s legalization of medicinal marijuana on Nebraska’s law enforcement and local jail system. NCJR also produced a comprehensive examination of how “Good Time” laws have affected prison sentences in our state penitentiaries. Please access our website to view each of these reports. NCJR was also very active in research and evaluation projects addressing social justice issues, such as the Nebraska DHHS Minority Health Initiative, and law enforcement projects, such as the Project Safe Neighborhood project with the City of Omaha targeted at removing violent gun offenders from FROM THE DIRECTOR: our streets. We are also eager to collaborate in promoting social innovation in the field of juvenile justice in Douglas County by serving as evaluators for the Youth Impact! Project, which promotes best outcomes for cross-over youth involved in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, as well as serving as evaluators for the Operation Youth Success collective impact initiative aimed at improving the functioning and outcomes of the Douglas County juvenile justice system. From a budgetary standpoint, we are encouraged by the 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, training, 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. Overall, we see NCJR’s inaugural year as a period of exceptional growth and substantial output of research and evaluation products, as well as a learning period of how best to work with policymakers, criminal justice leadership and practitioners, and a variety of stakeholders investing in public safety and justice in Nebraska. We look forward to learning from these experiences and increasing our capacity to serve the Nebraska community in subsequent years.
Nebraska Center for Justice Research, University of Nebraska at Omaha and Spohn, Ryan E., "Annual Report 2015" (2015). Reports. 69.