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  SAC Spotlight: Georgia

Projects and Data Initiatives

2014 Georgia Data Sharing Portal
With funding in 2014 from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Georgia's SAC will put together a sharing and visualization portal for criminal justice data from numerous state agencies including: the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Department of Corrections, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and CJCC. The goal of this initiative is to allow the public, policymakers, agency leaders, and staff to readily access and visualize aggregate-level data about arrests, caseloads, and inmates or probationers. Project partners will have access to the raw aggregate data behind the visualization tools, which will cut down on ad hoc requests between agencies. The public and policymakers will be able to query the databases, but will not be able to download data files.

State Drug Enforcement Strategy and Needs Assessment
With its 2013 Bureau of Justice Statistics State Justice Statistics grant, Georgia's SAC is conducting a multisector needs assessment around drug enforcement and treatment. The goal of this comprehensive, statewide study is to help determine the best strategy for Georgia's future drug enforcement and treatment activities based on current issues and trends. The study consists of a six-sector survey targeting law enforcement, judges, prosecutors/public defenders, treatment providers, corrections officials, and probation officers. In addition, SAC staff analyzed numerous secondary data sources, including: National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) data, UCR Part II data, Treatment Episode Data (TEDS), Medical Examiner Data about drug overdoses, Georgia Poison Control Center Data, and Georgia Department of Corrections demographic and substance abuse data about inmates and probationers.

Georgia Justice Information Sharing Initiative
In 2014, Georgia's SAC applied for and received a Bureau of Justice Assistance award to conduct a justice information sharing initiative. It is coordinating this effort in partnership with the Governor's Office on Transition, Support, and Reentry (GOTSR), Georgia Department of Corrections, State Board of Pardons and Parole, Georgia Community Service Boards, Aspire - Albany Community Service Board, Georgia Technology Authority, and Applied Research Services. The goal of this data-sharing initiative is to create a web portal for community service board treatment providers to be able to access basic information about returning citizen risk, need, and mental health or substance abuse care while incarcerated. Sharing this information with mental health and substance abuse service providers will ensure continuity of care for persons released from prison and hopefully help reduce recidivism by preventing lags in medication or treatment provision.

Victim Services Reporting Tools Revamp
In July 2014, some programs previously assigned to the Governor's Office of Children and Families were transferred to the CJCC. Specifically, state-administered and Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) funds for domestic violence and sexual assault service providers were transferred. Thus, the SAC will undertake another revision of the Victim Services Statistical Report that it manages for the Grants and Policy Division to accommodate data from state and FVPSA subgrantees. The SAC will also update the Criminal Justice Services Statistical Report, which must be completed by VAWA, law enforcement, prosecution, courts, and coordinated community response subgrantees.

Statewide Victim Services Needs Assessment Update
In 2012, the SAC Director completed a mixed methods statewide victim services needs assessment to help inform the allocation of victim services funding. For FFY 2015, Congress approved a historic increase to the Crime Victims Fund cap. The SAC is refreshing its analysis of FFY 2013 and FFY 2014 victim services statistical report data to help the Grants and Policy Division determine high-need areas in the state and to prioritize projects. The 2012 needs assessment report, along with the updated analyses, will inform regional forum conversations that the Grants and Policy Division staff have with stakeholders.

Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Claims Geographic Distribution Analysis
The Victim Services Division of CJCC - which houses the Crime Victim Compensation, Forensic Medical Exam, Forensic Interview, DUI Memorial, and Unclaimed Restitution programs - recently embarked on a marketing, branding, and training campaign to increase awareness about their services. In an effort to help target both marketing and training, the SAC will analyze 10 years' worth of claims, UCR Part I, and Georgia UCR Family Violence Supplement data to determine gaps in claims receipts from high-crime areas. These data will also be coupled with a longitudinal analysis of victim services report data to determine areas of high victim service volume throughout the state. Those high volume areas will be compared with claims receipts to further identify gaps in victim services with respect to crime victim compensation.

Georgia Byrne Innovation Grants CSEC Pilot Program Evaluation
Georgia's SAC will partner with a group of public and nonprofit organizations in Clayton County to evaluate a pilot initiative targeting youth at risk for commercial sexual exploitation. The program will consist of Darkness into Light training for school personnel, administrators, and school resource officers so they recognize the signs of sexual abuse that may put a child at risk for exploitation. This program will include an after school intervention with youth at risk of commercial sexual exploitation and a multidisciplinary team to target youth at risk.

In Partnership with Applied Research Services, Inc.
Georgia's SAC has three contracts with Applied Research Services, Inc. - a premier criminal justice research boutique firm in Atlanta co-founded by a former SAC Director - to conduct studies of statewide impact.

2014 Georgia-Specific Pathways to Desistance Study
Georgia's SAC was awarded a competitive grant from the Bureau of Justice Statistics' State Justice Statistics program to conduct a longitudinal study of the criminal careers of juvenile offenders. The research study will combine Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, Council of Juvenile Court Judges, independent juvenile court, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations computerized criminal history data. The goal of this study is to find correlates for continued offending from juvenile delinquency into adulthood and for protective factors that may help thwart juvenile criminal careers.

2014 Veterans Treatment Court Process and Impact Evaluation
Dr. Kevin Baldwin, a forensic psychologist and expert evaluator of accountability courts, will work with the CJCC under a 2014 Bureau of Justice Assistance Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant to evaluate eight Veterans Treatment Courts funded throughout the state. Dr. Baldwin will assess fidelity of implementation, strength of staffing team collaboration, and client outcomes over a three-year period. This evaluation will be one of the first large-scale process and impact evaluations of veterans treatment courts in the country.

Project Safe Neighborhoods Violent Repeat Offender List and Database
Dr. Tammy Meredith, in partnership with Georgia's SAC and the Northern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney's office, will analyze computerized criminal history and Department of Corrections records to arrive at a list of the most violent repeat offenders in the English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods of Atlanta. This list will drive prosecutorial efforts to remove the most violent and chronic offenders from the community. A "second tier" list of violent repeat offenders at risk for federal prosecution will be used to target services to interrupt the cycle of offending. Dr. Meredith will also work on an evaluation plan to assess the Project Safe Neighborhood's task force efforts, as well as work with the law enforcement agency members of the task force to design a database to keep the list updated.

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