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  SAC Spotlight: Maryland

Projects

Legislatively Mandated Reports

MSAC compiles various statistical reports as required by law. Current legislative reports include the following:

  • Race-Based Traffic Stop Data: Compile and analyze annual data on all law enforcement traffic stops in the state
  • Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team Data: Compile and analyze annual data on all SWAT deployments in the state
  • Electronic Control Device (ECD) Data: Compile and analyze annual data on law enforcement's use of Tasers
  • Criminal Citations Data: Compile and analyze data on all criminal citations issued by law enforcement
  • Interrogation Rooms: Conduct annual survey of Maryland law enforcement agencies regarding the audio/visual capabilities of their interrogation facilities
  • Juveniles Charged as Adults: Compile biannual report on statistics relating to juveniles charged as adults

One-time completed legislative reports include the following:

  • Safe Schools Act Gang Report: Provides a complete inventory of school youth gang prevention/intervention programs around the state, identifies best practice approaches to gang prevention/intervention programs, and proposes a pilot program that would provide comprehensive gang prevention/intervention services for a high school and middle school in Maryland where gang activity is prevalent
  • High School Dropout Rate Report: Studies the fiscal impact that high school dropouts have on the criminal justice system in Maryland
  • Criminal Citations Subcommittee of the Indigent Defense Task Force Report: Creates a policy review of law enforcement agencies' issuance of criminal citations and assesses the impact of the new criminal citations legislation

Surveys

MSAC serves as the creator and data repository for all GOCCP-issued surveys on a wide range of public safety topics. Surveys completed within the past year include the following

  • Law enforcement response to calls for service regarding mental health crises, persons, or subjects
  • Law enforcement/corrections agencies' policies on the use of physical prone restraint
  • Law enforcement policies regarding missing/runaway youth cases
  • Law enforcement agencies' DNA evidence case backlog
  • Victim service providers' ability to serve survivors of homicide victims
  • Evaluation of the GOCCP training conference and the Safe Streets Summit

Deaths in Custody/Arrest-Related Deaths

MSAC served as the State Reporting Coordinator for all Deaths in Custody/Arrest-Related Deaths until the Death in Custody Reporting Act was terminated.

Cost Benefit Analysis

MSAC is working with a consultant to develop a database that will capture the costs of various crimes in Maryland. These costs may then be applied in any evaluation of a public safety program intended to reduce crime.

DNA Hit Tracking

MSAC maintains a database that tracks investigations, arrests, and convictions resulting from matches between unknown DNA from crime scene evidence and known DNA profiles from offender samples in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) managed by the Maryland State Police (MSP). Offenders convicted or charged with certain crimes of violence or burglary are required to supply DNA samples, which are stored by MSP in their convicted and charged offender repository in CODIS. When DNA collected from a crime scene matches the DNA stored in CODIS, a DNA "hit" occurs. Once a hit has been confirmed, MSP notifies the investigating law enforcement agency, which is then responsible for following up on the investigation, locating the offender, and submitting a confirmatory sample to the crime lab. It is MSAC's responsibility to follow up with agencies to ensure that these DNA hit cases are being investigated and that the cases are being closed either via an arrest (in which DNA evidence was probative), closed by exception, or closed because the offender has not been found to be related to the hit offense. All of these statistics are tracked by MSAC and posted on GOCCP website monthly. In June of 2014, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley announced that information from MSP's DNA Database has resulted in 3,500 positive hits.

Program Evaluations

Violence Prevention Initiative: MSAC evaluated the Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services' Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI), a data-driven community supervision program aimed at reducing violent crime among Maryland's most violent offenders. MSAC evaluated this program on its ability to reduce violent crime and provide a swift and certain response for parole violators. This evaluation was completed December 2013.

Safe Streets: Safe Streets is an offender-based model established to institute collaboration and information-sharing across all levels of government to dramatically reduce crime. MSAC is beginning a project to evaluate three Safe Streets sites in Maryland (Annapolis, Cumberland, and Salisbury) to determine the effectiveness of this multi-agency collaboration. This study will help determine if Safe Streets is an evidence-based program that can be used nationally to reduce violent crime in smaller urban areas.

Domestically Related Crimes Audit

There is currently no crime of domestic violence in Maryland. In 2012, legislation authorized the tracking of domestically related crimes. Upon sentence for conviction or probation before judgment, the State may move for the Court to determine that a crime is "domestically related." These determinations become reportable events that appear on offender criminal history records. MSAC created a form that monitors the quality of data received from the State's Attorney's Offices across Maryland on domestically related crime dispositions. Additional training and follow-up is needed with the court clerks and state attorneys to accurately track protocols and make sure that these determinations are showing up in the appropriate criminal justice databases. MSAC is coordinating with all Maryland jurisdictions to improve the reporting and tracking of domestically related crimes.

Pretrial Justice Reform

The State of Maryland is currently reforming its pretrial system and exploring new options for conducting defendant risk assessments to inform pretrial release decisions. Over the past six months, MSAC has conducted numerous data analyses and research on best practices in pretrial justice. MSAC will assist the Maryland Pretrial Justice Commission with piloting and testing an evidence-based pretrial risk assessment tool.

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