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  SAC Spotlight:  West Virginia


West Virginia SAC staff
Pictured from left to right: Natalie Mills, Jessica Napier, Christina LaValle, Dr. Stephen Haas, Dr. Simon Bauer-Leffler, Monika Sterling, Bridget Connolly, and Erica Turley

Stephen M. Haas, Ph.D., Director of ORSP/JCEBP/SAC
Stephen M. Haas is director of the West Virginia Statistical Analysis Center (SAC). Dr. Haas holds a B.A. in psychology and political science from The Ohio State University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati. He has served as Principal Investigator and Project Director on several state and federally funded research projects and evaluations. Dr. Haas has also published numerous research reports and academic papers on various topics in the field of criminology and criminal justice education. His peer-reviewed works include studies published in the American Correctional Association's Corrections Compendium, Justice Research and Policy, and the Journal of Criminal Justice Education. Dr. Haas was recently the proud recipient of the G. Paul Sylvestre Award awarded by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), U.S. Department of Justice, to a State Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) director who has demonstrated outstanding achievement over an extended period of time and the Visionary Voice Award presented by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center for his work to end sexual violence. Under the leadership of Dr. Haas, the WV SAC has earned publication awards including the 2006 and 2009 Phillip Hoke National Publication Award for Excellence in the Statistical/Management and Research/Policy Analysis categories, and the 2008 Technical Innovation Recognition Award given by the Justice Research and Statistics Association. His recent research has centered on the use of core correctional practices in offender reentry, gun availability and violent crime, the statistical accuracy of crime statistics, and the proper use of application of offender risk and need assessments in service delivery.

Erica E. Turley, Research Analyst
Erica Turley has been a research analyst with the SAC since 1998 and served in state government since 1991. She holds a B.S. in mathematics from Marshall University. As a research analyst she has conducted numerous studies and evaluations of federally funded grant programs in the areas of domestic violence victimization and services, violent crime and weapon use, and drug control. Much of her work with the SAC involves the analysis of state, county, and local law enforcement data as reported in the WV Incident-Based Reporting System (WVIBRS). Her most recent publications have involved both process and impact evaluations of a local school-based mentoring program, an examination of the statistical accuracy of police incident reports relating to hate crime offenses, and a statewide analysis of traffic stop data to examine whether there are disparate outcomes in police stops by race. Ms. Turley is currently working to enhance the grant management process through improved performance measurement. She is also working with the WV Sexual Assault Response Technical Team (WVSARTT) and the SANE Advisory Board on issues related to sexual assault and the forensic examination process.

Jessica S. Napier, Research Analyst
Jessica S. Napier holds both B.A. and M.S. degrees in criminal justice from Marshall University. During her college career, she worked as a graduate assistant. Ms. Napier also worked for the Child Assault Prevention Program through the Team for West Virginia Children while attending Marshall. After graduation she became a contract employee with the SAC prior to becoming a full-time employee in December 2009. At the beginning of her tenure for the SAC, she analyzed the results of a survey of criminal history records officers and court clerks which explored a host of policy and procedural factors; these findings were presented at the JRSA Annual Meeting in Portland, MA. The following year she completed a study that examined the statistical accuracy of crime reports submitted to the incident-based reporting system in WV with James Nolan (WVU) and Stephen Haas (WVSAC), titled "Estimating the Impact of Classification Error on the Statistical Accuracy of Uniform Crime Reports." As social media explodes across the internet, Ms. Napier wrote a short piece for the JRSA Forum on how WV is using media to increase their "reach"; you can view this article at http://www.jrsa.org/pubs/forum/jun2012_30-2/Using_Social_Media_Info_Sharing.htm. She is currently working on a study for the WV State Advisory Group "Qualitative Assessment of DMC Needs" to fulfill a requirement set forth by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The current study employs focus groups in five counties to try to gain a better understanding about what court, detention, and community stakeholder's perceptions about factors that may contribute to disproportionate minority contact; plus gain information about programs or services that are in need or currently being used to reduce DMC. This study estimated complete date is: April 2013. In conjunction with the research project, Ms. Napier is part of the Justice Center for Evidence Based Practice. Under the JCEBP, Ms. Napier is one of the persons responsible for implementation, certification and quality assurance of the LS/CMI across the state.

Natalie L. C. Mills, Research Analyst
Natalie Mills holds a B.A. in Psychology from the Ohio State University and a Masters in Community and Culture Psychology from the University of Hawaii. She is currently completing her dissertation research on domestic violence and housing problems as part of completing a Ph.D. through the University of Hawaii. After completing her MA, Ms. Mills worked as a supervisor for an evidence-based treatment program for youth. Most recently, she worked as a program analyst for a large private school. She also has research and intervention experience in education, mental health, and community services.

Simon C. Bauer-Leffler, Ph.D., Research Analyst
Dr. Simon Bauer-Leffler comes to the WVSAC with four years of applied social research experience. His skills specifically relate to the methodological study of collection and analysis of data. After receiving his Ph.D. in Sociology from Purdue University, Dr. Bauer-Leffler worked as a project manager for two years in the Social Research Institute at Purdue University and was most recently employed by the Schaefer Center for Public Policy as the Survey Research Manager providing the Maryland State Assembly, Baltimore City Government and various Maryland State agencies with actionable and timely research and analysis. Dr. Bauer-Leffler's work in the SAC will center on conducting process and outcome evaluations of WV's community corrections programs, generating prison population forecasts, and developing a system to oversee quality assurance activities as it relates to data collection and the delivery of services in state-funded day report centers.

Christina R. LaValle, Research Analyst
Christina LaValle holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota Duluth and M.S. in Applied and Computational Mathematics from Johns Hopkins University. Ms. LaValle worked at the Montgomery College Math/Science Center in Rockville, MD for six and a half years as an Instructional Associate where she developed and facilitated workshops for the Center's tutoring program and tutored mathematics. Her efforts led to the certification of the Center's tutoring program with the College Reading and Learning Association. After completing her M.S., Ms. LaValle worked at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, MD as a Statistician. She analyzed survey results and behavioral, cognitive, and physiological data collected from field and lab studies and provided statistical consultation on various research projects within her department. Ms. LaValle also returned to Montgomery College as part-time faculty in the mathematics department. Ms. LaValle will use her expertise in statistical analysis and mathematics to contribute to the work done at the WV Office of Research and Strategic Planning.

Bridget J. Connolly, Research Analyst
Bridget Connolly holds a B.A. in Criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a M.S. in Criminal Justice, concentration in Law Enforcement and Crime Prevention, from the University of Cincinnati. She most recently was employed as a research assistant with the University of Cincinnati's Corrections Institute (UCCI). While at UCCI, she primarily worked on a statewide prison program evaluation relating to evidence based practices. Bridget will help fulfill the mission of the JCEBP, along with various quality assurance activities associated with the statewide implementation of the LS/CMI and other evidence-based practices. She is beginning work on the construction of a "Global Correctional Program Assessment Inventory" which will include multiple measures of program quality including observations, offender surveys, and official quality assurance data.

Monika L. Sterling, Senior DE Operator/Research Assistant
Monika Sterling has been with the WVSAC since 1997, most recently serving in the capacity of research assistant and database manager. She is responsible for the implementation of the ORSP Online Learning Management System being utilized to educate and inform all users of the LS/CMI in the state. In addition, Ms. Sterling is responsible for the development and ongoing improvement of the WVSAC website and is instrumental in monitoring the statewide implementation of the LS/CMI. Prior to automation, she handled the data entry of all state court reports and compiled an annual summary report for the Supreme Court Administrative Office. Her most recent projects have included working with Census track data to assist law enforcement agencies in establishing patrol areas for benchmarking purposes for a statewide traffic stop study, collecting and compiling data from local schools for a school-based mentoring evaluation, and assisting in development of the Community Corrections Information System (CCIS).

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