Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $74,304)
The State Justice Statistics (SJS) Program is designed to maintain and enhance each state's capacity to address criminal justice issues through collection and analysis of data. The SJS Program provides support to each state to coordinate and conduct statistical activities within the state, conduct research to estimate impacts of legislative and policy changes, and serve as a liaison in assisting BJS to gather data from respondent agencies within their states.
The Montana Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) is located within the Montana Board of Crime Control (MBCC), the designated state-wide administrative agency for all federal criminal justice grants. The SAC will use funds to contract the services of qualified researchers to conduct two research studies. The first study will expand upon current efforts to conduct a law enforcement impact study to more fully understand the changes brought on by rapid natural resource development and corresponding population growth in several Montana communities. The study will include data sources from adult and youth courts and probation, local levels of liquor sales, unemployment rates, and local property and rental costs. Findings will be presented to policymakers and practitioners to help inform their decisions regarding infrastructure development as development expands in communities. The second project will examine alternatives to the current method of scoring the items on the Risk Assessment Instrument (RAI) used to inform pre-adjudicatory detention decisions and to develop a training curriculum to provide guidance on how to accurately score the revised RAI. The findings from this study will increase the usability of the RAI before the tool is implemented as part of a state-wide strategy to reduce the use of secure confinement among juvenile offenders.