The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council for the District of Columbia's Statistical Analysis Center (CJCC SAC) recently held the inaugural meeting of the Interagency Research Advisory Committee (IRAC). IRAC's mission is to serve as an advisory body to the SAC and to support its efforts to collect and analyze data effectively, as well as address research, policy, and program evaluation questions of importance to the District's juvenile and criminal justice systems.
The IRAC was created by CJCC members, the local and federal leaders of the District's criminal justice system. The newly convened body is chaired by Cliff Keenan, Director of the District's Pretrial Services Agency, and includes representation from a vast array of CJCC's District and federal justice system partners. Committee members will work with the SAC to identify priority research projects that advance decision making toward the administration of justice. A wide range of proposed research topics was brought to the table at the first IRAC meeting, representing the need and enthusiasm for rigorous and objective research and support of the SAC in those efforts. The IRAC will continue to encourage data and information sharing between the SAC and partner agencies and will also support the implementation of recommendations that come out of SAC research.
The SAC was engaged in other research-driven decision-making efforts as well. With assistance from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), CJCC SAC completed its work with the District's Office of Returning Citizen Affairs (ORCA) to improve its capacity to (1) collect information and accurately report on the number of clients served in a given year, and (2) develop performance metrics that would enable staff to assess the services provided to clients. In the coming year the SAC will assist ORCA in developing and tracking performance measures to improve the quality of services provided and referrals made, and work toward implementing a process or impact evaluation.