UW Research

Department of Justice

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Purpose and Applicability

This page provides guidance for HSD staff about the additional regulatory requirements for research conducted with support from any program in the Department of Justice (DOJ), including the National Institutes of Justice (NIJ) and Bureau of Prisons (BOP).


DOJ regulations apply to research that is:

  • Funded by DOJ (most often, from National Institutes of Justice).
  • Conducted with any involvement of DOJ, including sites, institutions, personnel.
  • Supported by any resources of DOJ (for example, the Bureau of Justice Statistics; National Center for Juvenile Justice, Bureau of Prisons).

DOJ defines human subjects research according to the original Common Rule (28 CFR 46.103) and provides the following additional information:

  • Research is also defined as any program, project, or component thereof which is supported by DOJ and whose purpose is to develop, measure, evaluate, or otherwise advance the state of knowledge in a particular area [28 CFR 22.2(c)].
  • The following activities are explicitly excluded as not being subject to DOJ human subjects regulations:
    • Activities being conducted only to comply with Government Performance and Results Act or Office of Justice Program requirements for performance measures (and not for the purpose of developing or contributing to generalizable knowledge).
    • Bureau of Prisons programmatic or operational initiatives made through pilot projects (28 CFR 512.10).


The IRB applies the DOJ research regulations and consent requirements as listed in the WORKSHEET Department of Justice. When the research includes prisoners, per HSD policy, the use of a prisoner advocate and the prisoner Criteria for Approval are applied as described in the WORKSHEET Prisoners.

Privacy Certificate.

  • A Privacy Certificate is required for all research that includes the collection of private, identifiable information and that is supported by the NIJ, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), or Office of Justice Programs (OJP) [28 CFR 22.23(a)]. It is similar to a federal Certificate of Confidentiality and makes individually-identifiable data about research participants immune from any legal action. A template for the Privacy Certificate is located on the NIJ website, including instructions for how to submit it to the DOJ.
  • If a study is initially funded by HHS or CDC and has an automatic Certificate of Confidentiality (CoC) and then obtains DOJ funding which requires a Privacy Certificate, the protections of the Privacy Certificate supersede the CoC. All consent materials should describe the Privacy Certificate protections rather than those of the CoC.
  • If the need for a Privacy Certificate is identified, the reviewer:
    1. Informs the Team Operations Lead (TOL) or Senior Reliance Administrator (SRA) so they can help coordinate the review and obtain the IRB Chair signature.
    2. If the researcher has not already submitted the Privacy Certificate application with their IRB materials, the reviewer informs the researcher that they must apply to the National Institute of Justice for a Certificate and that the application must be submitted with their IRB materials.
    3. The reviewer informs the researcher that the IRB must approve the study and the IRB Chair must sign the Privacy Certificate before the research can begin. NIJ has designated the IRB Chair as the Institutional Official.
    4. Once the Privacy Certificate application has been received, the reviewer ensures that the confidentiality and privacy protections described in the Certificate application are consistent with protections described in the IRB application.
    5. When the IRB approves the study, the TOL/SRA arranges for the IRB Chair signature and ensures that a copy of the completed Certificate application is uploaded to the Zipline application. If the researcher receives a confirmation that the Privacy Certificate has been granted, that should also be uploaded to Zipline.

Related Materials

WORKSHEET Department of Justice

Regulatory References

  • 28 CFR 22 Department of Justice, Confidentiality of Identifiable Research Information
  • 28 CFR 46 Department of Justice, Human Subjects Protections
  • 28 CFR 512 U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Department of Justice – Research
  • National Institute of Justice website http://www.nij.gov/funding/humansubjects/

Version Information

Open the accordion below for version changes to this guidance.

Version History

Version Number Posted Date Implementation Date Change Notes
2.2 08.11.2022 08.11.2022 Add reference to Sr. Reliance Administrator
2.1 04.29.2021 04.29.2021 Add “Procedures” section
2.0 04.24.2020 04.24.2020 Significant revision to update content, revise from SOP to GUIDANCE, and transfer to current TEMPLATE Document
1.1 07.02.2017 07.02.2017 Updated links, changed checklist to worksheet, added “Paper” to DOJ Supplement
1.0 11.01.2013 11.01.2013 Newly implemented document

Keywords: CoC and privacy certificate; Federal agencies; Prisoners