Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $135,835)
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 Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC) was established by Administrative Order No. 89, signed by Governor Bill Sheffield on July 2, 1986. The AJSAC was declared responsible for assisting Alaska criminal justice agencies and state and local governments and officials by maintaining data and researching available information databases, providing advice and service related to technical and procedural problems involving statistical analysis of justice data; developing methods and conducting statistical analyses; responding to requests for justice information; and providing Alaska representation to the programs and offices of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA). AJSAC is located in the Justice Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Dr. Brad Myrstol is the SAC Director.
Under this award, the Alaska Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) will conduct activities under the following Core Capacity areas: Measuring criminal justice system performance and Increasing access to statistical data, and Special Emphasis area: Conducting targeted analyses utilizing the state's criminal history records. Funds are being requested by the SAC in the Core Capacity area to assist with the development and implementation of the Alaska Sex Offender Recidivism project, which will directly contribute to Alaska's ongoing efforts to evaluate and assess the criminal justice response to sexual violence. Once established, this research program will help the state not only document the prevalence of reoffending for those convicted of sex offenses; the specific analytic methodology employed will help the state improve its measurement of criminal justice performance through the use of an objective, empirically-based methodology to identify qualitatively distinct sub-groups of offenders and document the unique offending trajectories they follow both prior to and following institutional confinement. In addition, the SAC plans to establish an online repository of publications detailing the analytic work of the SAC on Alaska's most pressing crime and justice issues, as well as additional research conducted by others using the data resources of the SAC. Under the Special Emphasis category, the SAC requests funds to partner with the State Administering Agency (SAA) to assess the feasibility of using the state's criminal history data to empirically document the case processing of sex offenses. While Alaska's criminal history repository compiles detailed information pertaining to arrests, charge filings, charge dispositions, and sentencing information, the potential of these records for conducting case processing research remains largely unexplored and underutilized. The proposed project will provide criminal justice policymakers and practitioners with vital information about the formal case processing of sex offenses, a class of criminal offenses that is of exceptional importance to the Governor, the Alaska Legislature, criminal justice policymakers and practitioners across the state, and the public. (CA/NCF)