U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
08/06/18 11:59 PM ET
Grants to USA and territories nonprofits, for-profits, government agencies, IHEs, and certain qualified individuals for randomized controlled trial evaluations addressing reentry initiatives for prisoners. Applicants are advised to verify or create the required registrations well in advance of the deadline.
With this solicitation, NIJ seeks to build knowledge on best practices in offender reentry initiatives. Specifically, NIJ requests proposals for rigorous research to examine reentry initiatives that incorporate promising practices, strategies, or programs. For this solicitation, NIJ is interested in supporting evaluations of innovative reentry initiatives that focus on adult or young adults (aged 18-24) with a moderate-to-high risk of reoffending. A particular focus on the risk of reoffending with a violent crime is encouraged. These initiatives may be applicable to institutional or community corrections, or both. With this solicitation, NIJ’s primary goal is to support the rigorous examination of innovative reentry initiatives. Proposals that seek to evaluate reentry initiatives funded by the Second Chance Act will be considered. Preference in award decisions will be given to applications that propose to use a randomized controlled trial (RCT). Research proposals that focus on juveniles offenders will not be considered under this solicitation.
This research supports the U.S. Department of Justice priorities to reduce violent crime, and to protect police and other public safety personnel by reducing recidivism and giving individuals tools to be law-abiding, productive members of society.
Offender reentry initiatives provide one or many types of services, skills training, or therapeutic interventions designed to promote prosocial behavior, reductions in recidivism, and the offenders’ successful reintegration into the community from jail or prison. Given the potential public safety and fiscal implications of an offender’s successful reentry into society, it is critical for correctional stakeholders to know which reentry initiatives are the most efficacious. This solicitation is intended to support research to provide knowledge on offender reentry, building on prior research, funded in part by NIJ.
Proposals should include process, outcome/impact, and cost studies. Preferred outcome measures should include reductions in recidivism and criminal behavior, and related reentry outcomes (e.g., housing stability, employment). For an initiative to be considered for evaluation under this solicitation, one of its overall goals must be recidivism reduction.
Preference in award decisions will be given to research proposals that adhere to the principles underlying RCT designs, including the implementation of random assignment. Importantly, there should be discernible and significant differences between the control and treatment groups, e.g., the control group can receive no services or the common business practices for the site participating in the evaluation. The evaluation should also include a process, outcome/impact, and cost study.
Applicants should provide a compelling justification that the reentry initiative is suitable for evaluation and that the practices, strategies, or programs associated with it are promising. Evidence supporting the selected reentry strategy, practice, or program should meet at least one of the following criteria:
-Referenced in NIJ’s web-based clearinghouse of programs and practices, Crimesolutions.gov, as promising or effective;
-Cited in the empirical literature on offender reentry;
-Funded by a federal agency, including but not limited to, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA); or
-Implemented abroad and logically applied to U.S. offender populations.
NIJ will consider single- and multi-site evaluations of reentry interventions. In both instances, a large enough sample that provides sufficient statistical power to detect true differences between the treatment and control groups, and the generation of generalizable knowledge about offender reentry are imperative. If a multi-site evaluation is proposed, applicants should submit research designs that include both pooled and site-specific outcome analyses. Applicants should also account for any program deviations in the outcome analysis. Applications should include Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) or letters-of-support from participating sites.
Applicants should expect to meet regularly with NIJ staff — either in-person or by phone — and provide regular updates of evaluation progress, in addition to standard reporting requirements. These updates (frequency to be determined by NIJ staff in consultation with the successful applicant) may include information on programmatic services delivered, fidelity measures, current sample enrollment, and evaluation activities.
In their proposals, applicants are encouraged to envision how these initiatives can be expanded or implemented in different jurisdictions or programmatic settings in order to build on the knowledge base of what works in reentry. Applicants may also consider how the core logic model of a reentry intervention could be adapted to varied programmatic conditions and objectives to meet different needs.
RCT Evaluation Considerations:
Applicants are strongly encouraged to include the following information in the Program Narrative of their application:
1. A description of the reentry intervention program model with fidelity benchmarks of implementation activities. Applicants should describe likely model adaptions that may be needed at proposed evaluation sites. A discussion of how these adaptations may impact model fidelity should be included. If a multi-site evaluation is proposed, applicants should indicate how consistent implementation fidelity will be achieved.
2. An explanation of the theory of change behind the model activities. Applicants should clearly describe how proposed project activities contribute to the expected outcomes, such as reducing recidivism. The narrative should clearly identify the data to be collected or that is available to measure both activities and outcomes.
3. The logic model of the evaluation. The logic model should include the randomization plan that will outline how the participants will be identified and randomized into either the treatment group(s) or control group(s). The randomization plan should also give an estimate of the rate of enrollment, if the evaluation will rely on stock or flow enrollment (or a combination of both), and when the applicant anticipates that the target sample size(s) will be reached. Finally, the applicant should identify what reentry services, if any, the control group(s) participants will receive.
4. A power analysis. Applicants should connect the power analysis to anticipated effect sizes necessary to detect a difference in the treatment and control groups based on the services the control group will receive. If a multi-site evaluation is proposed, applicants should include pooled and site-specific calculations in their power analysis.
5. A discussion of likely sources of contamination in the evaluation design, and how the applicant proposes to mitigate contamination.
6. A robust site description. This should include, but not be limited to, a description of any training and technical assistance (TTA) the site(s) has/have received, or will receive during the course of the evaluation, and the vendor supplying the TTA.
7. Evidence that a validated risk assessment was used to measure and confirm the risk levels for the offenders involved with the reentry initiative under evaluation. Details about the risk assessment as well as the timing of the measurement of offender risk levels should be provided.
New Investigator/Early Career Opportunity:
NIJ is interested in supporting researchers who are early in their careers and new to NIJ’s research grant portfolios, specifically non-tenured assistant professors, or equivalent full-time staff scientist positions in a research institution, who propose research on topics relevant to NIJ’s Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) and/or Office of Science and Technology (OST). To that end, NIJ may, in appropriate circumstances, give special consideration in award decisions to applications proposing such researchers as principal investigators (PIs).
To qualify, the proposed PI must at the time of application submission:
-Hold a non-tenured assistant professor appointment at an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or an equivalent full-time staff scientist position at a research institution; and
-Have completed a terminal degree or post-graduate clinical training within the ten (10) years prior to September 30, 2018, and
-Have never previously received NIJ funding as a PI on a research project with the exception of Graduate Research Fellows or Data Resources Program grantees.
Goals, Objectives, Deliverables, and Expected Scholarly Products:
The primary goal of this solicitation is to advance the body of knowledge on promising practices in offender reentry, in part to inform the Second Chance Act Community-based Adult Reentry Program. The objective of this solicitation is to advance this knowledge through the support of rigorous RCT evaluations of promising reentry strategies, practices and programs. Successfully implemented RCTs have the greatest likelihood of providing comprehensive and unbiased evidence to practitioners and policymakers seeking to implement effective interventions in their jurisdictions. Findings from this research will assist state, local and tribal jurisdictions to reduce violent crime and protect public safety personnel by reducing recidivism among former offenders as they successfully reintegrate into the community.
Final Research Report. Any recipient of an award under this solicitation will be expected to submit a final research report. Additional information on the final research report requirement for the solicitation is posted on the Post Award Reporting Requirements Page on NIJ’s website.
Required Data Sets and Associated Files and Documentation. Any recipient of an award under this solicitation will be expected to submit to the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) all data sets that result in whole or in part from the work funded by the award, along with associated files and any documentation necessary for future efforts by others to reproduce the project’s findings and/or to extend the scientific value of the data set through secondary analysis. For more information, see Program Narrative in Section D. Application and Submission Information.
In addition to these deliverables, NIJ expects scholarly products to result from each award under this solicitation, taking the form of one or more published, peer-reviewed, scientific journal articles, and/or (if appropriate) law review journal articles, book chapter(s) or book(s) in the academic press, technological prototypes, patented inventions, or similar scientific products.
If an application includes an evaluation research component (or consists entirely of evaluation research), the application is expected to propose the most rigorous evaluation design appropriate for the research questions to be addressed. If the primary purpose of the evaluation is to determine the effectiveness or impact of an intervention (e.g., program, practice, or policy), the most rigorous evaluation designs may include random selection and assignment of participants (or other appropriate units of analysis) to experimental and control conditions. In cases where randomization is not feasible, applicants should propose a strong quasi- experimental design that can address the risk of selection bias.
Applications that include evaluation research should consider the feasibility of including cost/benefit analysis. In cases where evaluations find that interventions have produced the intended benefit, cost/benefit analysis provides valuable and practical information for practitioners and policymakers that aids decision-making.
Evaluation research projects may also address a wide range of research questions beyond those focused on the effectiveness or impact of an intervention. Different research designs may be more appropriate for different research questions and at different stages of program development. The intervention strategies, setting, other contextual factors, and resources should be taken into account when selecting an evaluation design. In all cases, applications are expected to propose the most rigorous evaluation design appropriate for the research questions to be addressed.
GrantWatch ID#: 183454
NIJ anticipates funding multiple awards.
Up to $500,000.
Awards will normally not exceed a three-year period of performance.
An applicant should base its federal funding request and period of performance on the actual requirements of the research, and not necessarily on the anticipated amount of funding available in FY 2018 for awards under this solicitation nor to fit within a three-year period of performance. However, to expedite the budget approval process, applicants are encouraged to break out their budgets by project year or by phases in the event that NIJ choses to fund the project partially or incrementally.
To allow time for (among other things) any necessary post-award review and financial clearance by OJP of the proposed budget and for any associated responses or other action(s) that may be required of the recipient, applicants should propose an award start date of January 1, 2019.
In general, NIJ is authorized to make grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with States (including territories), units of local government, federally recognized Indian tribal governments that perform law enforcement functions (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior), nonprofit and for-profit organizations (including tribal nonprofit and for-profit organizations), institutions of higher education (including tribal institutions of higher education), and certain qualified individuals. Foreign governments, foreign organizations, and foreign colleges and universities are not eligible to apply.
All recipients and subrecipients (including any for-profit organization) must forgo any profit or management fee.
NIJ welcomes applications under which two or more entities would carry out the federal award; however, only one entity may be the applicant. Any others must be proposed as subrecipients (subgrantees). The applicant must be the entity that would have primary responsibility for carrying out the award, including administering funding, managing the entire evaluation project, and monitoring and appropriately managing any subawards (“subgrants”).
Under this solicitation, any particular applicant entity may submit more than one application, as long as each application proposes a different project in response to the solicitation. Also, an entity may be proposed as a subrecipient (subgrantee) in more than one application.
What will not be funded:
-Applications primarily to purchase equipment, materials, or supplies. (A budget may include these items if they are necessary to conduct research, development, demonstration, evaluation, or analysis.)
-Applications that are not responsive to this specific solicitation.
-Applications that focus on juvenile offenders.
Applicants must acquire a unique entity identifier (currently, a DUNS number). Obtaining a DUNS number is a free, one-time activity. A DUNS number is usually received within 1-2 business days.
Applicants must acquire or maintain registration with SAM. Each applicant must update or renew its SAM registration at least annually to maintain an active status. SAM registration and renewal can take as long as 10 business days to complete (2 more weeks to acquire an EIN).
Applicants must register with Grants.gov prior to submitting an application.
An application cannot be successfully submitted in Grants.gov until Grants.gov receives the SAM registration information. Once the SAM registration/renewal is complete, the information transfer from SAM to Grants.gov can take as long as 48 hours. OJP recommends that the applicant register or renew registration with SAM as early as possible.
All applications are due by 11:59 PM eastern time on August 6, 2018.
To be considered timely, an application must be submitted by the application deadline using Grants.gov, and the applicant must have received a validation message from Grants.gov that indicates successful and timely submission.
OJP urges applicants to submit applications at least 72 hours prior to the application due date, to allow time for the applicant to receive validation messages or rejection notifications from Grants.gov, and to correct in a timely fashion any problems that may have caused a rejection notification.
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