JRSA Forum, September 2012, Volume 30, Number 3


Feature Article

Gang Offending and Online Behavior

National Scene

BJS Taps Michael Planty to Head Victimization Statistics Unit

Greg Ridgeway Joins NIJ as Deputy Director


New JRP Issue Focuses on Evidence-Based Policy and Practice

NJJEC Launches Online Program Evaluation Tutorial

Incident-Based Reporting Resource Center Funds New Projects

SAC News

The Arizona Prescription Drug Initiative: A Multisystemic Approach for Targeting Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse

Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

The JRSA Forum is supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. JRSA is a national nonprofit organization. For membership or other information, call (202) 842-9330, e-mail cjinfo@jrsa.org, or visit our Web site: http://www.jrsa.org.

Karen F. Maline, Editor
Nancy Michel, Managing Editor


Phillip Stevenson, President
Stephen Haas, Vice President
Carmen Dorsey, Secretary/ Treasurer
Lisa Broidy, Delegate
Lisa Shoaf, Delegate
David Olson, Appointed Delegate
Jackie Vandercook, Past President

Joan C. Weiss, Executive Director

Ali Burnett, Office Manager
Sandra Dayton, Director of Finance and Administration
Shawn Flower, Research Associate
Karen F. Maline, Director of Member Services
Nancy Michel, Director of Publications
Stan Orchowsky, Research Director
Marc Osman, Web Site Manager
Jason Trask, Program Associate
Lisa Walbolt Wagner, Research Associate
Carrie Williamson, Research Associate

JRSA Website - Forum Webpage - Forum PDF - PRINT THIS ARTICLE  

SAC News: Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Stefanie Lopez-Howard was recently appointed Statistical Analysis Center Director (SAC) for the State of Georgia. The SAC is housed in the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC), the state administering agency. Ms. Lopez-Howard started at CJCC in August 2010 as a Planning and Policy Development Specialist working on the Victims of Crime Act, STOP Violence Against Women Act, and Sexual Assault Services Program grants. During her tenure in that position, she conducted a statewide victim needs assessment and garnered a $400,000 Safe Havens award for the state. In March 2012 she was promoted to Planning & Evaluation Program Coordinator, overseeing the programmatic functions for CJCC's 10 federal funding streams. Prior to coming to CJCC, Ms. Lopez-Howard worked at Legal Momentum, formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, first as a legal assistant and then as the Program Associate to the National Judicial Education Program. She left Legal Momentum to attend graduate school at the University of Connecticut. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in survey research. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, with minors in French and legal studies from Trinity College in Hartford, CT. To stay fit and sane, she is a certified Spinning™ instructor, teaching five classes per week.

Hawaii Statistical Analysis Center Director Paul Perrone is on a nine-member task force facilitated by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs that seeks to address the overrepresentation of Native Hawaiians in the justice system. The task force has been holding a series of meetings and statewide community summits to identify solutions to the problem.

Research on Human Trafficking
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) staff are working on three forthcoming publications on human trafficking. First, a research bulletin will describe Anne's House, a new residential home for women and girls who are victims of sex trafficking. The goal is to share a description of the program during its first 18 months of operation. Second, a report on residential programs for trafficking victims will share information about programs and services for victims across the country based on a survey. Finally, a research bulletin will describe current trafficking and prostitution- related laws and share the number of arrests from 2006 to 2011. The purpose is to gauge the impact of legislation on arrest trends.

Study of Court-Ordered Psychological Reports for Juveniles
This study examines psychological reports that inform judges of youths' mental health history and provide recommendations. The goal is to evaluate the utility of the reports and their influence on justice-involved youth outcomes. A report should be completed by the end of the year.

Overview of the Process and Procedures of the Illinois Adult Criminal Justice System
ICJIA has prepared an overview of how the adult criminal justice system typically operates in Illinois. The purpose is to inform the public on the flow of adult criminal cases through the criminal justice system, including arrest procedures, the court system, pretrial activities, trial, sentencing, and the criminal record expungement process.

Illinois Drug Task Force Profiles
For more than 20 years ICJIA has been awarding federal funding to local agencies to support multijurisdictional enforcement groups (MEGs) and drug task forces (TF). The goal of the project is to produce statistical profiles that provide a general overview of the drug problems in the various jurisdictions and share MEG/TF responses to these problems. By using data provided directly by the 19 MEG/TF units as well as arrest data, these profiles provide information to MEG and task force directors and policy board members to guide decisionmaking and the allocation of resources. The first of the profiles, "Collaborating to Fight Drug Crime: Profile of the DuPage County Metropolitan Enforcement Group," was published in April 2012. The other profiles should be completed in fall 2012.
Illinois publication
Evaluation of Crisis Intervention Team Training for Law Enforcement
The Chicago Police Department established a 40-hour Youth Crisis Intervention Team training to teach officers how to better respond to mental health crises among juveniles. The goal of this ICJIA study is to evaluate the program in order to improve and enhance training practices. The study measures pre- and posttraining knowledge; retention of the training material; satisfaction with the training; and the intentions and use of training materials in the field. This is a three-year evaluation project, but a report of findings will be completed for each year. The report on the first year was completed in summer 2012.

The Kansas Sentencing Commission (KSC), also functioning as the Kansas Statistical Analysis Center (SAC), has carried out the following major activities:


  • Processing statewide felony sentencing journal entries and collecting FY 2013 sentencing data to the KSC sentencing database, which serves as an information resource for monitoring Kansas sentencing policies and practice and conducting criminal justice research.
  • Providing the legislature and state agencies with prison bed-space impact assessments under any policy change related to sentencing guidelines.
  • Processing statewide transactions of Senate Bill 123 drug treatment programs and monitoring the implementation of the programs, including the evaluation of recidivism. To ensure that treatment is proceeding uniformly across the state and to remedy any noted deviations, the Commission will complete an update of the Senate Bill 123 Operations Manual according to practice and policy changes by June 30, 2013.
  • Collecting Arrest-Related Deaths (ARD) data for the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). In the process of this activity, the agency has been updating a law enforcement and criminal justice agencies directory to keep contact information current.
  • Conducting prison population projections and custody classification projections for the Kansas Department of Corrections. Custody classification projections will be conducted in September.
  • The Kansas SAC also serves as an information resource to respond to requests from national, state, county, and private researchers regarding sentencing data and research information. From January to August, we processed 42 sentencing data and research requests, of which seven were substantial dataset requests.


The Kansas SAC received a BJS FY 2012 award to collect data for the Arrest- Related Deaths study and provide the information to BJS annually, and to conduct research on domestic violence in the state and compare its findings with national trends in the areas of conviction, sentencing policy, and sentencing practice. In addition, the SAC will continue its drug policy study and refine the scope of the evaluation to determine the impact of the substance abuse treatment programs on recidivism, incarceration, and state resources attributed to this program.

National Survey on Fee Schedule for Research Requests
Each year the Kansas Sentencing Commission (SAC) processes around 80 data and research requests, some of which are multiple-year datasets. The SAC only charges private researchers for caselevel dataset requests. To keep pace with current national practice, KSC surveyed state SACs in August on their fee schedules for research requests. Of 53 SACs who received the survey email, 33 SACs responded, a response rate of 62.3%. While a number of SACs said they process data requests, only two had a fee schedule.

The Massachusetts Statistical Analysis Center (SAC), housed within the Research and Policy Analysis Division of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), reached full staff complement in April 2012, after hiring a director and two analysts. The SAC is nearing completion of publications and policy briefs and staff are undertaking a number of new initiatives, which are described below.

Criminal Justice Recidivism Measures for 2005 Release Cohorts
EOPSS is currently working with the PEW Center for the States Results First project team to implement a cost-benefit model for criminal justice programs and sentencing policy developed by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy. The model requires Massachusetts criminal justice recidivism summary measures for multiple release cohorts: adult releases to the street by discharge and parole from state and county correctional systems, juveniles released from the Department of Youth Services, and new probation supervision cases.

The Pew Results First model requires several long-term recidivism measures designed to capture the probability of a new conviction over the follow-up period, number of arraignments, and associated offenses. These measures are used to assign probabilities to the amount and type of crime to each release/supervision cohort, with their associated system and victimization costs in order to model the costs and benefits of investing in programs and strategies. Massachusetts formed a team to collect this data based on 2005 release cohorts. The Research and Policy Analysis Division/Massachusetts SAC has been tasked with leading the effort.

Massachusetts Criminal Justice Agency Researchers Group
A major focus of the Massachusetts SAC is to establish a collaborative research network with various state, county, and local agencies, established associations, and professional groups. State Justice Statistics (SJS) funding from the Bureau of Justice Statistics has enabled the SAC to assume a leadership role and lay the groundwork for reconvening the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Agency Researchers Group (MCJARG), which is envisioned as the agent/conduit for this endeavor.

MCJARG was formed in the fall of 2002 to provide an informal forum where professionals interested in issues relating to data collection and reporting, research, and program evaluation could share information, foster research collaborations, and learn from others. The group has met intermittently for a decade on an ad hoc basis; however, SJS funding for this project will enable the SAC to formalize MCJARG (meeting time, dates, and format), its mission and objectives, and identify topic areas and training interests. MCJARG will be instrumental in supporting the work of the EOPSS with its public safety initiatives.

In addition to representatives from state criminal justice agencies who have been participants, the SAC plans to expand outreach to include non-criminal justice state agencies, the law enforcement community, and sheriff's departments.

NIBRS Collaboration
The Crime Reporting Unit (CRU) of the Commonwealth Fusion Center is charged with the responsibility of acting as a single point of contact between local police agencies and the FBI to assist the FBI in the collection of crime statistics. It also serves as a data collection point and statistical analysis unit to collect, manage, analyze, and report on the data it receives.

Crime data reporting in Massachusetts is not mandatory; however, approximately 80% of the municipalities report National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data to the CRU for use in FBI crime reports. Nearly all of the most populous cities/towns in Massachusetts track crime data using NIBRS. The major exceptions are Boston, Lawrence, and Medford, and should they choose to participate, 95% of crime statistics would be reported using NIBRS.

The SAC is working in collaboration with the director of the CRU to strengthen NIBRS reporting, dissemination, and training. Utilizing CrimeSOLV, the CRU's software application, the SAC and CRU are working with EOPSS Department of Criminal Justice Information Services to develop system-generated reports to be run on a regular basis and sent to participating police departments.

The collaboration between the SAC and the CRU will enhance the Commonwealth Fusion Center as a data and intelligence-driven agency. Systematically generating reports, especially for local police departments that do not have the expertise or personnel to do analysis, should increase data reliability and timely reporting. It should also help police departments to see how the information can be used for strategic planning and understanding their operations, thereby strengthening their compliance with NIBRS.

Pre-Adjudicatory Risk Assessment Instrument
The Montana Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) contracted with the University of Montana's Social Science Research Lab to conduct a performance assessment of the Montana Pre-Adjudicatory Risk Assessment Instrument (RAI). The RAI has been used on a pilot basis in four counties since 2009 as part of the predispositional detention decisionmaking process to determine whether or not juveniles pose a public safety risk if released. The analysis focused on two dimensions associated with the RAI: the first pertains to racial and cultural sensitivity in assessing offender risk, and the second to public safety outcomes associated with the behavior of juveniles who are released from detention (specifically, whether a new offense resulted in a misdemeanor or felony citation during the 45-day period of risk and whether the juvenile failed to appear for an initial court appearance after release from detention). To investigate these issues, three research questions were examined:

  1. Is the RAI being administered impartially and in a manner that assesses juvenile offender "risk" in a culturally and racially sensitive manner? (Are there differences in the patterns of overrides that are used to make detention decisions when comparing White and minority juveniles?)
  2. Did the juveniles reoffend while on release status during the period of risk? (Was there a new felony or misdemeanor citation within 45 days following release from detention?)
  3. Did the juveniles fail to appear for the initial court appearance following release from detention? (Did the juvenile fail to appear for the next court appearance or follow-up with the probation officer after their release from detention?)

The following recommendations came from the research:
  • Conduct research that is tasked with developing a standard operating procedures manual and an associated curriculum module to deliver it.
  • Study whether or not the existing dimensions for which scores are assigned on the RAI are the ones that are most closely associated with the public safety outcomes that the RAI is evaluated on.
  • Continue to monitor the performance of the RAI and the effectiveness of any changes that are made.
  • Investigate the factors that are used by practitioners to override the RAI indicated decision.
  • Examine stakeholder attitudes toward detention reform and in particular whether or not they would be willing to incorporate and follow the RAI.
  • Continue to develop and refine practices that ensure comprehensive and accurate data about the RAI and its performance are collected and archived.

The Montana SAC contracted with the Social Science Research Lab again to follow up on the recommendations in the initial research. Specifically, a juvenile justice stakeholder survey is being constructed to examine stakeholder attitudes toward detention reform, in particular whether they would be willing to incorporate and follow the RAI. Additionally, the Research Lab is developing a standard operating procedures manual and rescoring the risk assessment itself to improve accuracy through a mixed methods research approach that includes focus groups and quantitative analysis of the RAI.

Ohio Consortium of Crime Science The Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS), parent agency of the Ohio Statistical Analysis Center (SAC), is partnering with the University of Cincinnati (UC) School of Criminal Justice and several other Ohio colleges and universities to form the Ohio Consortium of Crime Science (OCCS). OCCS is based on the concept of the agricultural extension office model, which seeks to apply scientific research and educational programming to enhance agricultural practices. This academic consortium, consisting of criminology and criminal justice experts, is tasked with providing training, technical assistance, evaluation, and consulting services directly to local Ohio criminal justice agencies who seek assistance in solving crime and criminal justice problems. Researchers are paired with practitioners based on their area of expertise (dependent on the nature of the request) and geographic location (pairing a researcher from the same region in Ohio is ideal). A small stipend is provided to the researchers who undertake the request for assistance.

The development of OCCS provides a formal mechanism to bring together researchers and practitioners across the state. Researchers were contacted by the University of Cincinnati via letter and email, introducing them to the concept of OCCS and inviting them to an initial meeting where the vision of the Consortium was then provided to them. Thirty-one researchers representing 11 colleges and universities attended. After the meeting concluded, an email was sent to the researchers asking them to indicate interest by filling out a member form and submitting their vita to OCJS. The email also provided them with a link to an online survey in which they could express anonymously their thoughts (both good and bad) about the development of the Consortium. Over the course of the next month, 18 individuals expressed interest in being a part of OCCS. Interestingly, OCCS received membership forms from an additional 17 researchers who were referred by those who attended the initial meeting. To date, 35 researchers from 12 universities are members of OCCS.

An advisory board was established to create the structure, policies, and procedures for the Consortium. Seventeen people from eight universities requested to be a part of the board. It was decided to have one person representing each of these universities involved in the advisory board of OCCS. In all, eight researchers make up the board in addition to the chairperson of the board (the chair of the UC School of Criminal Justice), the OCJS Executive Director, and the OCJS SAC Director. The first meeting of the advisory board took place via conference call in July.

During the meeting, the following items were discussed:

  • The development of the project prioritization committee to identify criteria and procedures for choosing projects on which to work
  • The development of the selection of experts committee to provide criteria for the review and selection of appropriate expert(s) for a given project
  • The development of a professional standards/quality control subcommittee to identify criteria and guidelines to promote quality and delivery of services
  • The creation of a Web site, housed at OCJS, to provide information on OCCS and to provide a Request for Assistance form for locals to submit to OCCS
  • Marketing of OCCS to professional groups that can reach out to local prosecutors, judges, police, probation, parole, and correction agencies (among others)

Where Are We Now?
An email was distributed to all OCCS members informing them of the progress that has been made since the introductory meeting in April. The advisory board subcommittees have been meeting to provide recommendations on the structure, policies, and procedures for the Consortium. Three pilot studies were identified that will involve a few of the participating universities. Once these studies are underway and the framework for the OCCS is developed, OCJS and a few representatives from the advisory board will present OCCS to various entities in Ohio in order to gather support to sustain this initiative.

Criminal Justice System Assessments
The Governor's Commission on Public Safety has held four meetings to date on Oregon's criminal justice system assessments. The Commission is receiving technical assistance from the PEW Center on the States through the Public Safety Performance Project. The Commission is also participating in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The next set of commission meetings will focus on policy development, with a goal of drafting recommendations for legislative action by the end of year. The Oregon Statistical Analysis Center assisted PEW with data collection, context, and analysis for the systems assessment findings. The draft legislation is expected to contain justice reinvestment and/or sentencing reform policy options to help put Oregon's prison population and criminal justice spending on a sustainable path. For more information on the system assessment, go to the Pew Web Site.

In 2008, Oregon voters approved ballot Measure 57, which increases prison sentences for persons convicted of certain nonviolent drug and property offenses. The measure was suspended in 2009 due to the high cost associated with its implementation and an economic recession that began in 2008. The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission decided to implement a Measure 57 Intensive Drug Court Grant Program during this suspension period, and four counties in Oregon agreed to participate in a randomized controlled trial of this program. Participants are medium- to high-risk property offenders.

Randomization began in 2011, with study participants assigned to either the drug court program or treatment as usual, which is probation including supervision and treatment. A subset of study participants are also participating in qualitative interviews that started in the spring of 2012. Preliminary outcome evaluation results will be available in 2013, with results for one-year recidivism outcomes. The qualitative interviews will continue through August 2013, with a final report scheduled for December 2013. Recidivism outcomes of the study cohort will continue to be evaluated, with a follow-up analysis of three-year outcomes, including arrests and felony convictions.

The Tennessee Statistical Analysis Center released its first report providing information on elderly victims of crime. Crimes Against The Elderly Report 2009-2011 shows a slight increase in the number of elderly victims each year over the three-year period even though the total number of victims of crime decreased over the same period. (Elderly victims increased 7%, while the total number of victims decreased by 5%.) Four Group A Offense categories were analyzed: robbery, burglary, assault and fraud.
Crimes Against The Elderly Report 2009- 2011
A review of the data found the following:

  • Just over 6% of all victims reported in incidents between 2009 and 2011 were elderly.
  • Burglary is the most often reported offense committed against the elderly, followed by vandalism and theft-all other larceny.
  • More than 46% of robbery offenses against the elderly occur at home.
  • Between 2009 and 2011, 6,275 fraud offenses were reported as having an elderly victim, which accounts for nearly 13% of all fraud victims.
  • Offenders in assault offenses are overwhelmingly known to elderly victims. Of the 2,896 assault offenses, 41% were committed by family members.
  • A total of 65,220 offenders committed crimes against the elderly between 2009 and 2011. Males were two times more likely to offend against this population than females.

Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) Director Max Schlueter appeared on WCAX TVís news report show The :30 to talk about the effectiveness of Vermont's treatment courts. Karen Gennette, State Treatment Court Coordinator, described the goals of the courts, their treatment methods, and their target population. Dr. Schlueter discussed the results of a program evaluation performed by the Vermont SAC that showed that those who completed the treatment court program had greatly reduced recidivism rates compared to non-completers.
Vermont's program evaluation graphic

West Virginia
The West Virginia Statistical Analysis Center/Office of Research and Strategic Planning is hosting a two-day conference for current and future grantees from various disciplines. The conference, "Enhancing Justice Administration through Improved Performance Measurement," will focus on grant management (solicitations, application process, best practices) and performance measurement/evaluation. Specifically, the goal is to educate grantees on changes that will be required of their programs as they move toward a more evidence-based environment. Conference participants will be taught how to write measurable goals and objectives, and will gain a better understanding of evidence-based practices and performance measurement. The conference is an extension of the agency's overall strategic planning process. The agency is working to educate its own staff, improve the grant solicitation/ application process, make better data-driven funding decisions, and ultimately ensure that the programs available in the communities are evidence-based.

Derek Veitenheimer has been named Director of the Wisconsin Justice Information Center at the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance. As the director, he is responsible for overseeing the state's Statistical Analysis Center and Justice Information Sharing programs. His prior criminal justice experience includes working in Wisconsin's Uniform Crime Reporting, Traffic Stop Data Collection, and Justice Information Exchange programs. Mr. Veitenheimer has extensive knowledge of Wisconsin's criminal justice data systems, as well as the capabilities in the collection, exchange, research, and analysis of criminal justice information among state and local systems.

Dr. Burke Grandjean has resigned after nine years as the executive director of the Wyoming Statistical Analysis Center (WYSAC). He is returning to teaching and research at the University of Wyoming. The interim director is Dr. Bistra Anatchkova, who has been at WYSAC for nine years in the role of manager of the Survey Research Division.

WYSAC is conducting an evaluation of the Wyoming Transition from Prison to Community Initiative Statewide Reentry Task Force. The Wyoming Department of Corrections (WDOC) has been building its reentry programming capacity over the past 10 years through grants like the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) and the Prisoner Reentry Initiative. As a rule, communitybased reentry services that require cooperation among multiple organizations are difficult to keep on track during the implementation phase. Additionally, large complex organizations like state departments of corrections already have sturdy and prevailing traditions that often do not mesh seamlessly with the tenets of reentry. The process evaluation will serve as a useful tool to answer critical questions on the degree to which community-based reentry programs are attaining or not attaining intended implementation goals.

WYSAC is also conducting a pilot study to explore human trafficking in Wyoming. Data on human trafficking are not currently collected in Wyoming, as it is one of four states that do not have a specific statute against human trafficking. The purpose of this pilot project is to create a better understanding of the scope of the problem through interviews with sex workers and law enforcement officials in the state. Hopefully this pilot will lead to a more thorough and systematic statewide study in the future.