Overview:To address emerging issues and build capacity to improve the administration of criminal justice, BJA launched the BJA Visiting Fellows Program in FY 2012. The intent is to leverage state, local, or tribal subject-matter expertise to assess areas of need and to develop strategies, tools, and policies in collaboration with BJA staff for the benefit of the criminal justice field.
By hosting up to five Fellows with FY 2015 funds,* BJA collaborated with practitioners and researchers to build capacity to address gaps in priority and emerging issues in the criminal justice field. BJA encouraged potential applicants from a broad range of disciplines to consider how their work in areas related to crime and justice might support work in the BJA Visiting Fellows Program’s priority issue areas outlined below:
* Subject to appropriations and approval.
1. Justice Information Sharing, Analysis, and Cyber Crimes Fellow:This fellowship will focus on the use of justice information sharing and data analytics in the identification and reduction of crime, examining specifically crimes committed using high tech means involving network intrusions, infrastructure protection, investigations, awareness, and prevention. Responsibilities will include documenting how state law enforcement agencies, major city police departments, intelligence units, and fusion centers handle high tech crime, intelligence, sharing of information, and recommending how demonstrated practices can assist other agencies in identifying, preventing, and reacting to these types of threats. High tech crimes are classified as those crimes committed using electronic devices, the internet, and secure networks within the jurisdiction of federal, state, local, and tribal criminal justice and public safety agencies. The ideal candidate will have a strong technical background with an emphasis on data analysis, as well as a working knowledge of electronic communication methods, storage of electronic data, methods for securing communication and data, methods for reporting electronic based crimes, investigation techniques, and supporting effective prosecutions. The candidate must also possess the ability to help facilitate national scope projects, communicate with diverse stakeholders, and work both independently and in a team environment. The selected Fellow will be expected to assist BJA in developing national policy, evaluating delivery of training and technical assistance services to criminal justice and public safety agencies, and shaping project activities in support of BJA's efforts to enhance the justice communities’ capacity to combat crime through information sharing and analytics. This fellowship will be assigned to BJA’s Justice Information Sharing team, and will coordinate closely with other staff, including BJA’s Policy Office Law Enforcement team.
2. Law Enforcement Human Trafficking Fellow:This fellowship will seek to improve and expand the ability of law enforcement and prosecutors nationwide and the BJA-funded human trafficking task forces to utilize innovative, proactive investigative practices, build innovative partnerships and networks, and develop data-driven strategies to improve responses, operations, efficiencies, and decision making in addressing the crime of human trafficking. The focus of the fellowship will be on enhancing state, local, and tribal law enforcement and prosecutorial capacity to address human trafficking through identifying innovative investigatory and prosecutorial practices, documenting successful practices and sharing information. The ideal candidate will have strong experience in human trafficking investigations, prosecutions, collaborative task force operations, victim services, collaboration across justice entities, identifying and collecting data, and an understanding of stakeholder dynamics within communities and criminal justice practice. The candidate must also have the ability to facilitate national scope projects, communicate with diverse stakeholders, and work in a collaborative, team environment. The Fellow selected will propose a project which will work on a parallel track with BJA in the development of national policy, delivery of training and technical assistance to local agencies, and shaping project activities that support BJA's efforts to enhance law enforcement capacity to combat human trafficking. The project should focus on working directly with the task forces to understand and document what investigative and prosecutorial practices are working in the field, documenting innovative and proactive investigative practices (especially for labor trafficking) and identifying trends for approaching human trafficking cases. This fellowship will be housed with the Law Enforcement and Adjudication team and will coordinate closely with other staff.
3. Reentry and Corrections Second Chance Act Fellow:BJA seeks to identify and work collaboratively with a Fellow who has substantial expertise as a policy advocate, legal or social services provider, or academic focusing on the area of successful reintegration of people returning home to communities after incarceration. Successful applicants will possess significant reentry policy and practice experience, and will have a unique perspective of the justice system having been formerly incarcerated him or herself.1 Potential Fellows are strongly encouraged to propose specific strategies that build upon and improve BJA’s investments in the reentry priority area.2 For example, an applicant with significant experience in leading reentry policy efforts or programs at a state or local level, or a reentry advocate with experience in collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, including challenges with the reentry population securing housing, employment, educational, healthcare, or voting opportunities could propose innovative ways to assist BJA to build more responsive funding opportunities, and to support and document achievement of successful outcomes in these areas in jurisdictions across the nation. BJA strongly encourages potential Second Chance Act Fellows to submit creative and innovative proposals to enhance BJA’s current national efforts related to promoting successful reentry for the incarcerated population, reducing recidivism among correctional populations; and/or assist BJA to identify and define new and emerging reentry challenges, and define efficient and effective methods to address them. The successful applicant will be an integral member of the Justice Systems team and will collaborate with staff members from across the Policy Office and BJA management. The successful applicant will also be a member of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council staff working group and will help to inform federal policy efforts to remove barriers to successful reentry. It is expected that the individual will also have opportunities to provide strategic guidance related to corrections to the BJA Director and OJP leadership from the Office of the Assistant Attorney General.
4. Corrections Fellow: Reforming Corrections Policies and Practices to Reduce Recidivism and Enhance Outcomes: BJA seeks to identify and work collaboratively with a Fellow who possesses significant corrections policy and practice experience to enhance current national efforts related to offender reentry, recidivism reduction, and/or the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Potential Fellows are strongly encouraged to propose specific strategies that build upon and improve BJA’s investments in the corrections priority area.3 For example, an applicant with significant experience leading their state’s successful efforts to comply with the National PREA Standards could propose to leverage their work and accomplishments to assist BJA and DOJ’s current efforts to promote nationwide compliance with the Standards. Similarly, a corrections policymaker who has played an integral leadership role developing and implementing policies and practices that have resulted in successful outcomes (e.g., reductions in institutional corrections populations, lower rates of technical violations and returns to prison by offenders on post-release supervision, decreases in recidivism by offenders released from prison) could propose innovative ways to assist BJA to support and document achievement of such outcomes in other jurisdictions across the nation. BJA is also very committed to identifying new and emerging corrections challenges, and developing and implementing efficient and effective national strategies, policies, and practices to address them. As such, a potentially viable alternative for BJA’s Corrections Fellow is to lead a strategic, comprehensive process to define one or more of these challenges and to develop methods BJA can use to help solve them. An optional, but preferred, activity to support such a process could be convening a formal summit or meeting of corrections experts from across the nation to forecast upcoming corrections challenges, and to advise BJA on priorities and proactive next steps. The ideas contained in this section are intended to be illustrative rather than proscriptive. BJA, therefore, strongly encourages potential Corrections Fellows to submit creative and innovative proposals to enhance BJA’s current national efforts related to promoting successful offender reentry, reducing recidivism among correctional populations, and/or improving prison safety and effectively addressing prison rape; or assist BJA to identify and define new and emerging corrections challenges, and define efficient and effective methods to address them. The successful applicant will be an integral member of the Justice Systems team and will collaborate with staff members from across the Policy Office and BJA management. It is likely that the individual will also have opportunities to provide strategic guidance related to corrections to the BJA Director and OJP leadership from the Office of the Assistant Attorney General.
5. Strategic Initiatives Fellow, Field Initiated:This Fellow will support the innovative and strategic programs of the Strategic Initiatives Unit (SIU) by advancing the goals of the group. The SIU goals are to translate research and evidence informed approaches in BJA policies and programs including strategies for use by state, local and tribal practitioners; enhance the use of data, research partnerships, strategic planning, and data analysis to enhance practitioners’ capacity to effectively develop and implement justice interventions, as well as the provision of training and technical assistance; generate new knowledge about effective interventions through field tests, assessments, and applied research and evaluation; promote innovation, strategic replication, and rapid response to emerging criminal justice needs; support the fidelity of program implementation; and enhance the coordination and implementation of effective place-based, community-oriented strategies. This Fellow should have an extensive background criminal justice research and/or public policy or a cross-cutting discipline to enhance BJA strategies or resources, consistent with these goals and the BJA's Strategic Plan. Each fellowship applicant should propose strategies that are not duplicative of existing BJA work, and should advance a critical area of need in the field of criminal justice. In particular, an SIU/Implementation Fidelity Fellow might focus on building capacity in the field to conduct low-cost, high-quality data collection, analysis, evaluation or research; translate research knowledge in areas of documented need such as prosecution; propose strategies to incorporate the core components of high-quality implementation (“implementation drivers”) into BJA initiatives; develop briefing papers, resources, and checklists to promote and support the implementation of programs with fidelity; create strategies to enhance local program design (such as identifying appropriate target populations and services); and use of physical design in developing community justice spaces and community conditions that engage community and build community trust and safety.
1 In order to be eligible for consideration for the Second Chance Act (SCA) Fellow position the applicant must have been formerly incarcerated. Any applicant without this background will be removed at the Basic Minimum Requirements phase of the review process. Additionally, all SCA Fellow applicants must successfully pass the DOJ background investigation and drug test and receive the appropriate security clearance prior to the release of their grant funding.
2 BJA leads national corrections programs to support innovative, strategic efforts at the state, local, and tribal levels to promote positive offender reentry outcomes by developing and implementing evidence-based, data-driven programs and services for people returning to this nation’s communities from incarceration; reduce offender recidivism and enhance public safety while lowering corrections populations and costs; and improve the safety of correctional facilities, and reduce the incidence and prevalence of prison rape.
3 BJA leads national corrections programs to support innovative, strategic efforts at the state, local, and tribal levels to promote positive offender reentry outcomes by developing and implementing evidence-based, data-driven programs and services for offenders returning to this nation’s communities from prison; reduce offender recidivism and enhance public safety while lowering corrections populations and costs; and improve the safety of correctional facilities, and reduce the incidence and prevalence of prison rape.
Below are current and past BJA Visiting Fellows:
BJA Fellow Selected for DC Conviction Integrity UnitOn January 12, 2015, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. (District of Columbia) announced the selection of two independent consultants who will provide guidance and outside expertise to the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s newly created Conviction Integrity Unit. The consultants are Jeffrey D. Robinson, Senior Counsel at Lewis Baach, and Kristine Hamann, a Visiting Fellow at BJA, who specializes in developing "Best Practices" programs for prosecutor's offices.
Two legal consultants selected to D.C. unit to identify potential wrongful convictions
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Watch a 2015 Visiting Fellows Program Solicitation webinar or view the presentation slides.
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