Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $210,000)
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 Florida Statistical Analysis Center (FSAC) is a unit of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Organizationally, the FSAC is part of the Crime Information Bureau within the Criminal Justice Information Program. This location facilitates its use of the criminal history files and other FDLE-maintained data. FDLE houses the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), the Computerized Criminal History (CCH) files, the Offender-Based Tracking Statistics and the Automated Training Management System databases, among others. FDLE houses expertise in the areas of data analysis, computer technology, and data collection processes. The FSAC's goal is to inform practitioners and policy-makers about crime, criminal offenders and crime victims in Florida. To accomplish this goal the FSAC transforms existing crime data into research data sets; identifies new data sources; and performs analysis to translate data into useful and understandable information.
Under this 18 month award, the FSAC will use funds under two areas: Special Emphasis Capacity Building (B) - Conducting targeted analyses using the state's criminal history records and under Core Capacity Building (C) - Increasing access to statistical data. Under the special emphasis project the FSAC will demonstrate the concept of creating extensive metadata in a research format using two cohorts of inmates released from Florida prisons from 2007 to 2013 selected by their primary offense at release (sex offenses and burglaries) as identified by Florida's Department of Corrections (DOC). The DOC is collaborating with the FSAC by providing the inmate cohort to compare the "information" variables in the DOC research files to those in the Crime Research Information System (CRIS) to create metadata and document the differences and similarities. Additionally, the FSAC is partnering with the Arizona Statistical Analysis Center to compare a similar cohort of Arizona's inmates as found in the Arizona criminal history files. The FL-AZ comparison will result in documentation of the type of information available in each research data set including fields or groups of fields that capture comparable information about the crimes in both states. The results of this project will demonstrate the utility of developing new metadata for research purposes and the need to continue the development of this information-laden data source to improve system wide analysis to support public policy decisions. The FSAC will also use funds to provide new website content to enhance website capacity. The FSAC is particularly interested in providing new information in the form of descriptive statistics regarding Florida's CCH data via downloadable data sets and spreadsheets and through graphical presentations designed to present and explain crime trends. (CA/NCF)