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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 annual report summarizes the activities and financial status of NCJR in its second year. Our research products built upon the reports we produced last year. For example, we 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. We also produced a follow-up report to track trends in marijuana arrests, jailings, and costs based on our first full year of Nebraska data subsequent to Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana. Our most important project this year was our contract to develop new classification and re-classification tools for all inmates in our state correctional system. This work is summarized in the report, Development and Validation of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Prison Classification System. NCJR faculty and staff also produced numerous reports from our current contracts and grants, such as our evaluation of Youth Impact! Project, which promotes best outcomes for cross-over youth involved in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems and our evaluation of the Operation Youth Success collective impact initiative aimed at improving the functioning and outcomes of the Douglas County juvenile justice system. We also produced reports from our research partnership with Project Safe Neighborhoods and the City of Omaha, an initiative targeted at removing violent gun offenders from our streets. Finally, in collaboration with UNO’s Juvenile Justice Institute, we are finalizing the next statewide 3-year strategic plan for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant funds. Details on our projects can be found in the pages of this report. In regards to our academic mission, our work resulted in many presentations at local and national conferences, multiple academic publications, and our research on marijuana enforcement even ended up highlighted in the London School of Economics’ American Politics and Policy Blog. From a budgetary standpoint, we are 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, 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. Our overall budget increased by 50% over our total budget last year. We are also happy to announce that Dr. Emily Wright, associate professor in UNO’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice was hired as Associate Director to add additional faculty expertise to our Center. In summary, we see NCJR’s second year as a continued period of exceptional growth and substantial output of research and evaluation products. In addition, we continue to build research partnerships, collaborations, and relationships with agency and community stakeholders. We look forward to learning from these experiences and increasing our capacity to serve the Nebraska community in subsequent years.



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