Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $149,522)
The BJS Visiting Fellow Program aims to facilitate collaboration between academic scholars and government researchers in survey methodology, statistics, economics, and social sciences. BJS Visiting Fellows are provided the unique opportunity to address substantive, methodological, and analytic issues relevant to BJS programs and to further knowledge about and understanding of the operation of the criminal justice system. Fellows conduct research at BJS or at their home site, use BJS data and facilities, and interact with BJS staff.
BJS Visiting Fellows have a recognized research record and considerable expertise in their area of proposed research. Applicant proposals are evaluated on the applicability of the research to BJS programs, the value of the proposed research to science, and the quality of the applicant's research record.
The main objective of this BJS Visiting Fellowship is to assess the Survey of Inmates and Local Jails (SILJ) survey instrument and address the most relevant and emerging issues of jails and jail inmates. The scope of work for this fellowship are divided in two general tasks:
Task 1: Review the SILJ instruments, associated reports, and literature to determine potential gaps in the coverage of relevant emerging issues, with the intent to better measure characteristics of jail inmates for comparability across other surveys. Evaluate how stakeholders and researchers use the SILJ. The deliverable to BJS includes a report or working paper reviewing the body of work that documents the SILJ's value and limitations. This report should make recommendations on how to improve the SILJ and address the potential gaps in coverage.
Task 2: With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation, assess the SILJ's reliability to collect information on the physical and mental health status of jail inmates and how jails connect inmates to community- based health care. The deliverable to BJS includes a report assessing the data needs for evaluating the effect of ACA on the health and access to healthcare of jail inmates. This report should include a review of how jurisdictions are implementing the ACA, and how the SILJ can better assess the jail inmate's health status.