Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $226,524)
Core Capacity-building project for increased access to statistical data: Sharing traffic stop data and advancing interactive data visualizations. The IL SAC core capacity-building project would provide access to a new criminal justice dataset—state traffic stop data. The SAC staff will obtain and clean the traffic stop records provided by Illinois Department of Transportation. Once the data is cleaned, the dataset will be provided on the SAC website for research and public use, and SAC staff will develop user-friendly, interactive dashboards of the data using Tableau visualization software. Those who access the data will be able to execute their own analyses using the dashboards to answer research questions or learn more about traffic stops in their communities. Special Emphasis Capacity-Building Project: Audit of Criminal History Record Information and analysis of long-term predictors of recidivism. The Illinois State Police (ISP) maintains the official repository of criminal history information, including arrests, charges, and convictions. The Illinois SAC is the sole authorized auditor of this data. The most recent audit (2006) was the first to include digital records. The 2021 special emphasis project proposes a new data audit, a non-research activity, followed by a research study using a de-identified copy of the data. The audit will be based on a full database comparison of the ISP data with data from the state corrections system and court system’s data; it will also include interviews with a representative sample of law enforcement agencies to capture current data entry and correction procedures. Completion of the audit will provide invaluable feedback on the quality of data collected by ISP (and submitted to the FBI for national use), ensure accurate data for use in revised pretrial release decisions in the State of Illinois, provide recommendations for improving data quality, and develop thorough documentation of what data is available to policymakers and researchers including what quality concerns exist. After the audit is complete and quality improvements made, SAC researchers propose the completion of research using a deidentified version of the ISP data, in order to examine long-term recidivism and desistance of individuals. This will include calculation of recidivism rates (e.g., 3-, 5-, 8- , 10, and 15- year) with subsets for demographic groups and offense type, as well as comparative analysis with alternate definitions of recidivism, such as arrest without reincarceration. The desistance analysis will provide an alternate framework to recidivism for understanding reduction in risk of reoffending, using one of the largest datasets compiled for a desistance analysis. These analyses will provide the public and policymakers with a clearer sense of what the data in Illinois say regarding the risk of individuals exiting prison of later arrest, conviction, and return to prison over a longer period of time than 3-year rates presently published, as well as use desistance as an alternate way to understand that risk over time.