Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $75,000)
The DC SAC requests funds to examine the impact of COVID-19 on the criminal justice system. As vaccines become more widely available and the end of the public health emergency appears to be in sight, the District of Columbia will need to determine what the “new normal” will be for its criminal justice system operations, including whether any COVID-related changes should remain in place and whether any pre-COVID operations should be reinstated. To inform these decisions, the DCDC SAC will engage a consultant who will (1) identify and summarize the operational and policy changes made by the District’s justice system agencies in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency; (2) determine how those changes affected public safety outcomes, including (a) the occurrence of particular types of crime, (b) recidivism rates of affected justice-involved persons, and (c) compliance of justice-involved persons with conditions imposed by the court and supervision agencies; and (3) determine the impact of the operational and policy changes on justice system workloads. To address these research questions, the consultant, in collaboration with the DC SAC, will collect and analyze publicly available data on reported crimes, as well as administrative data on justice-involved populations that were affected by COVID-19-related operational and policy changes, including those who were issued citations as opposed to arrests, those under community supervision and those released from secure facilities. The consultant will then compare that data to criminal history records, including arrest data, court case data and supervision data, to determine public safety outcomes for these individuals. The consultant will also review relevant documentation and summarize the COVID-related operational and policy changes, as well as obtain workload data from the court and prosecution and supervision agencies to assess the impact the changes had on these agencies. The consultant will generate a written report that will include the findings of the study.