Center for Justice Research and Innovation

CNA's Center for Justice Research and Innovation focuses on translating research and analysis of the American justice system into real-world, programs, strategies, and tactics. The center does this through its own research, training, technical assistance, and critical incident reviews, working directly with hundreds of justice system organizations nationwide.

Our Mission

To work with justice-related and community-based agencies and organizations on the assessment, implementation, evaluation and sustainment of organizational and system-wide improvements in the administration of justice. To develop and deliver high-quality assessments, evaluations, research, training and technical assistance, drawing on our diverse staff and national network of subject matter experts and collaborating with experts in related fields.


Technical assistance— CNA works directly with law enforcement and other justice agencies to develop and implement customized training and technical assistance (TTA) based on evidence-based solutions, to improve performance and maximize impact. Our diverse and experienced team of analysts, practitioners and subject matter experts manage and support TTA on a variety of scales —from targeted assistance for individual agencies to complex national TTA initiatives that promote broad sharing of best practices. We deliver training and technical assistance in many formats, including curriculum development, facilitation and training, distance learning, conferences and workshops, publications, field-based assistance, peer learning, capacity assessments, on-site subject expert assistance, program evaluation, online tools and websites.

Organizational Reform/Innovation— CNA’s approach to organizational transformation relies on assessments and evaluations that have been tested and proven in our work over the past 75 years of CNA’s history. It is data-driven and collaborative, combining subject matter experts in the specific organizational and topical areas at issue with experienced analysts who work directly with practitioners to identify, analyze and solve problems.

Research, Analysis, and Evaluation— CNA conducts evaluative and action-oriented research grounded in operational realities. Our research on the impact of technology in the justice system — body-worn cameras, correctional officer safety, common operational picture programs and critical incident response — informs the criminal justice field about promising practices and opportunities for improvement.

Recent Reports

Independent Audit of the City of Little Rock's Police Department

This report details the findings and recommendations of this targeted audit of the LRPD. The audit team used a variety of sources, including policies, training records, administrative data, and focus groups and interviews with LPRD personnel to assess the department. Throughout this report we identify both strengths and weaknesses of LRPD’s operations.

Field Training Programs in Law Enforcement

This report highlights the perceptions about field training programs from the perspectives of both the field training officers and the trainees. We specifically looked at Trainer Requirements, Preparation, and Incentives; Pairing of Trainers and Trainees; and Trainer Evaluation and Trainee Communication.
Impacts on Field Training Programs: Incentives
Impacts on Field Training Programs: Pairing Trainers and Trainees
Impacts on Field Training Programs: Recruitment and Retention

2021 Methuen Police Department Performance (MPD) Audit

This report provides an objective and in-depth understanding the MPD’s operations in areas including budget, equipment, training, staffing levels, hiring, equipment acquisition, and development of policies and procedures. The audit also explores department leadership, organizational culture, and department personnel morale.

IACP: Officer Safety Panel

Watch the IACP Officer Safety Panel Presentation given at the virtual 2021 IACP Officer Safety and Wellness Symposium. Our researchers feature highlights of The Use of Predictive Analytics in Policing report previously released by CNA.

The Use of Predictive Analytics in Policing

Created through a partnership between BJA and CNA, the Using Analytics to Improve Officer Safety work examines granular incident data from 2015–2019 from several local law enforcement agencies to identify incident characteristics (characteristics specific to the incident and related to officer tactical response) associated with officer assaults, injuries, and line-of-duty deaths. Using machine learning techniques, CNA is producing a risk assessment model to link incident characteristics with officer safety outcomes. This work also entails working with participating agencies to identify best practices and recommendations to reduce risks to officer safety in the line of duty.

The Use and Effectiveness of Safety Equipment in Correctional Facilities Across the United States

In partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators, CNA collaborated with seven facilities to gather information about officer injuries, use of safety equipment, and policies and procedures related to safety and safety equipment. Using robust qualitative analysis, we derived themes and findings from interviews, incident review panels, and observations of facility operations.
Two page summary

Opioid Data Initiative

Substance use disorders, especially those involving the misuse of opioids, represent a major public health and public safety crisis for communities across the U.S. States and local communities are using data-driven approaches to better understand the size and scope of the epidemic, identify populations at risk, and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their response efforts.

Lessons to Advance Community Policing

In 2013, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) created the COPS Office Microgrant Initiative to support law enforcement in implementing innovative community policing projects. This program aims to provide small-grant seed funding (up to $100,000) to state, local, and tribal law enforcement to develop and test programs and strategies in a real-world setting and to spur innovation within law enforcement agencies and across the profession. While these microgrant projects are smaller than other federally funded grant programs, they offer the benefit and flexibility of allowing law enforcement agencies to implement innovative initiatives that they would otherwise not have the resources to undertake.

CNA Executive Sessions on Policing: Collaboration Across the Criminal Justice System—Policing and Prosecution

During this executive session, CNA and National District Attorneys Association representatives, as well as prominent speakers representing both prosecutors and police discussed the challenges police and prosecutors face when establishing and maintaining (1) local and federal collaborative partnerships with each other and with external criminal justice partners, (2) effective law enforcement prosecution strategies, (3) data and information sharing, (4) communication mechanisms, and (5) community.

The Benefits of Body-Worn Cameras: new findings from a randomized controlled trial at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

This study reports the findings of a randomized controlled trial on body-worn cameras (BWCs) involving more than 400 police officers in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD). We find that BWC-wearing officers generated significantly fewer complaints and use of force reports relative to control officers without cameras. BWC-wearing officers also made more arrests and issued more citations than non-BWC-wearing controls. In addition, our cost-benefit analysis revealed that reduced complaints against officers and the reduced time required to resolve such complaints resulted in substantial cost savings for the police department. Considering that LVMPD had already introduced reforms regarding use of force through a Collaborative Reform Initiative prior to implementing body worn cameras, these findings suggest that body-worn cameras can have compelling effects without increasing costs.

Partners and Programs