Courts Innovations Needs Tool

The report Fostering Innovation in the U.S. Court System presents innovation needs developed and prioritized by the members of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Courts Advisory Panel. As part of that effort, the panel ranked the importance of five distinct goals of the U.S. Courts System. Different innovation opportunities contributed to different goals, so these rankings had a significant impact on the final priorities listed in the report.

However, opinions can legitimately differ about the importance of different policy goals. Using information drawn from the report findings, this interactive tool for ranking court innovation needs allows users to re-prioritize the needs, based on their own views of the importance of different court system goals.

Use the Courts Innovations Needs Tool

How Can This Tool Help Stakeholders?

U.S. courts get many of their inputs from law enforcement and many of their outputs go to the corrections system. As a result, many of the technology challenges courts face result from technologies that are being adopted outside the system (for example, body cameras by law enforcement or video conferencing in prisons). It is important, therefore, to identify opportunities where changes in tools, technology, practices, or approaches can help agencies respond more effectively to solve problems and mitigate risks in their role to administer justice. Given resource constraints, setting priorities among many possible innovations is necessary. The RAND report prioritized courts needs based on the input of the Advisory Panel. This interactive tool allows users to leverage the research in the report and also to see how the identified priorities would change, based on their own policies and/or organizational priorities.

What Exactly Is This Tool?

The interactive tool for ranking courts innovations can be used by courts professionals, policy makers, or interested members of the public to identify the highest priority court needs informed by their own views of the goals and missions of corrections agencies. By changing the relative importance of different goals, the user can see how policy priorities affect the baseline rankings produced by the NIJ Courts Advisory Panel change.

What Can Stakeholders Learn From This Tool?

By adjusting priority rankings, the tool allows users to:

  • View the relationship among and the priority of specific problems, issues, or technology areas;
  • Generate data that can identify which of the court innovation options are most valuable to them, based on their policy preferences;
  • Obtain information that serves as a launch point to investigate new tools, practices, and technologies.

How To Use The Tool

This tool allows users to view how the results would change if the relative importance of the court goals was different. Users can increase or decrease the weight given to the different goals using the Adjust Ranking Priorities slider bars (left is lower relative importance, right is higher) and the innovation needs will move up and down, with the highest ranked needs appearing at the top.

The default priority levels represent the rankings determined by the panel. The user can return to the default priority levels by reloading the page or clicking the Reset Sliders button that will appear at the bottom of the Adjust Policy Goal Priorities slider bars list after ranking priorities are adjusted.

By toggling the view options, you can shift between the standard view, which displays detailed information about each problem and need, and the high-level view of the relative position of the innovation needs. The high-level view displays each need as a small dot, with the importance of each need on a relative scale.

A large distance separating certain dots indicates the relative importance of the higher dots in relation to the lower dots. This relative distance is not represented in the standard view in order to make the list of needs easier to read. The innovation needs are categorized and color-coded based on their category of technology or practice as described in the report.