Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $206,920)
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 Alabama Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) is located within the Crime Statistics and Information (CSI) Division of the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (ACJIC) which is a state agency established by the Alabama Legislature. As Alabama's officially designated repository of crime and arrest data and other criminal justice related information, ACJIC is tasked with the collection of incident-based crime statistics as well as other criminal offender data used by local law enforcement agencies throughout the state. The SAC serves as a clearinghouse of criminal justice information and is responsible for analyzing and disseminating crime data to members of the executive, legislative and judicial departments of government, media outlets and the public.
Under this award, the Alabama Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) will conduct activities under the following Core Capacity areas: Increased access to statistical data and Performance measurement; and Special Emphasis area: Conducting targeted analyses utilizing the state's criminal history records. Alabama is seeking funds, in the Core Capacity area, to develop a web application that will allow local law enforcement agencies the ability to view, edit, perform quality control checks for reporting accurate data, and submit data in real-time. Data received by the SAC from approximately 500 local law enforcement agencies in Alabama is currently in paper form. Local agencies are unable to access their data for analysis or to perform quality control checks for accurate reporting. SAC staff spend a good deal of time collecting, entering, and editing data to report statistics on crime and justice to federal and state agencies. The new web application will drive the collection and dissemination of crime data in Alabama. It will also allow agencies to electronically submit LEOKAs, hate/bias supplements, arsons, and death in custody reports for the first time, as well as give agencies the capability to make graphical presentations and animation designs to present and explain movement of trends. Under the Special Emphasis area of the SJS program, the SAC plans to develop a program called the Criminal History Assessment Metrics Program (CHAMP) which will provide a framework for assessing the quality of Alabama's criminal history records in order to identify the potential for future quality improvements. CHAMP will be used as a general purpose research tool to provide basic (elementary measures of data quality) and applied (things that criminal justice researchers want to know about the data) metrics to researchers through a dashboard. Results from the program will be used to conduct two pilot studies: one on firearms purchases and the other on complex prosecutions. The SAC hopes these studies will improve data quality and positively impact criminal justice policy relating to these areas. Funds are also requested for the SAC Director's travel to attend the NCJA Conference where JRSA will be facilitating a track for the SACs. (CA/NCF)