Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $233,998)
The NMSAC is located within the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of New Mexico. The current project is being submitted under Area I: Core Capacity Building Projects, Theme B: Collecting and analyzing data on criminal justice system processes. The project has both a data capacity improvement component and a research component. The project would enhance our data capacity by helping us to better understand the detention center data we receive, streamline the procedures we use to process and recode that data, improve the management of that data, and include an assessment of the quality and completeness of the data we receive. The research component has three objectives. First, the NMSAC will expand upon a prior study of bail reform in New Mexico to assess the effects of bail reform on misdemeanants. To date, the NMSAC has focused on the impact of bail reform on felony-level defendants. Second, COVID-19 has resulted in changes in all aspects of society, including the criminal justice system. Changes in policies and procedures are expected to influence the composition and population of detention centers. The NMSAC seeks to understand whether and in what ways COVID-19 has resulted in changes in the detention center population. Finally, the NMSAC will explore whether and in what ways COVID-19 has influenced bail reform in the state, both in the short-term and longer-term. Study findings will be shared with stakeholders throughout New Mexico and publish reports on the NMSAC website.