Improving the Criminal Justice Response to Terrorism
To help improve the criminal justice system's, including local law enforcement's, ability to prevent and investigate incidents
of terrorism, NIJ has sponsored research on policing in Arab communities; how terrorism laws impact State and local criminal
justice operations, police work with public health agencies; and the role of prosecutors, case studies from 9/11, and terrorist
group learning processes.
The Role of Prosecutors. Recently, a number of States have passed antiterrorism legislation that has refocused prosecutors' responsibility in investigating
terrorist cases. Prosecutors have begun to change their process for screening, investigating, and prosecuting certain criminal
offenses; emphasize intelligence collection; and pay increased attention to precursor crimes such as identity theft, fraudulent
documents creation, and money laundering. More prosecutors will develop a well-defined role for their offices in responding
to terrorism as they have an opportunity to use the updated legislation.
An Assessment of Defense and Prosecutorial Strategies in Terrorism Trials: Implications for State and Federal Prosecutors. (University of Arkansas) This project involves an analysis of approximately 700 prosecutions of politically motivated terrorism-related
offenses. Multiple secondary data sources will be used to examine various issues related to prosecutions, including assessing
the relationship between prosecutorial and defense strategies, defendant behavior, the impact of 9/11 on cases, and factors
affecting terrorists' decisions to plead guilty or go to trial. Additionally, this study will enhance the American Terrorism
Study database with these related strategies.
Improving the Relationship Between Law Enforcement and Arab-American Communities. NIJ funded one of the first studies undertaken to examine the effects of 9/11 on domestic law enforcement agencies and communities
with high concentrations of Arab-American residents. In each of the study's sites, Arab-Americans described heightened levels
of public suspicion exacerbated by increased media attention and targeted government policies.
Despite their concern about increases in hate victimization, Arab-Americans expressed greater concern about being victimized
by Federal policies and practices than by individual acts of harassment or violence. Arab-Americans reported a fair amount
of goodwill toward their local law enforcement agencies, even when they had little interaction with the police, but their
perceptions of Federal law enforcement officials were less positive. Even though most FBI field offices in the study had reached
out to Arab-American communities, many Arab-Americans remained fearful and suspicious of Federal efforts.
In all cases, law enforcement and community members expressed a desire for improved relations. Nonetheless, few jurisdictions
actively adopted programs or policies in an effort to improve relations. In jurisdictions that adopted community policing
measures to improve relationships, the researchers found meaningful partnerships that had better success at addressing concerns
about local and national security.
Learning From 9/11: Comparative Case Studies of the Law Enforcement Response in New York . (Police Executive Research Forum) To better understand the elements of the critical incidents and to distill lessons to be
learned, this is a comparative case study of the responses in the New York City and Arlington County police departments to
9/11/01. The project will create a framework for the analysis of critical incident management systems, based on the four major
components of such systems: Prevention/Preparedness; Response/Crisis Management; Consequences Management; and Mitigation/Prevention.
A Cross-National Comparison of Interagency Coordination Between Public Health and Law Enforcement. (Research Triangle Institute) Investigation of how public health surveillance systems can be mechanisms for communication
among and coordination of law enforcement and public health responses to terrorism. The study compares procedures in the U.S.,
Canada, and United Kingdom.
Impact of Terrorism on State Law Enforcement: Adjusting to New Roles and Changing Conditions. (Council of State Governments) This study examined State-level terrorism-related responsibilities and their implications
for State police and criminal justice systems. It identified specific needs and suggested specific practices and procedures
for State agencies to address their needs and to improve communication, cooperation, and collaboration with agencies at other
levels of government.
Date Created: November 8, 2007