Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,993,175)
The FY 2023 Survey of Prison Inmates Research and Development (SPIRD) project will be conducted to prepare an inmate questionnaire and data collection protocols that can be used to produce national statistics about the U.S. prison population to understand the composition of the population and changes over time. Regular, recurring, national-level data collections of people in prisons have been fielded by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) since 1974; the most recent Survey of Prison Inmates (SPI) was conducted in 2016. Through the SPIRD, research and development activities will be conducted to update and test the survey instrument used for the 2016 SPI, evaluate the feasibility of conducting interviews with sample members virtually, test protocols to obtain consent to link survey data to administrative records, and develop a plan that can be used to conduct the next SPI. A draft questionnaire will be developed based on an environmental scan related to BJS surveys of persons in prisons and through stakeholder engagement. Cognitive testing of the draft instrument will be done to refine content and ensure respondent comprehension of and ability to answer the survey questions. Once the questionnaire is finalized, a field test of the survey will be conducted with 1,500 sampled individuals across approximately 30 state and federal prisons nationwide. The field test will also provide an opportunity to confirm that respondent burden averages between 45 and 60 minutes. In addition, consent protocols that describe the components of the SPIRD design in language that can be easily understood by individuals with lower literacy levels will be developed and evaluated as part of the field test. Based on the field test findings, a comprehensive study plan for the next SPI will be prepared.