Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $94,827)
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 University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service (MSPS) is one of the largest public policy centers in the U.S. MSPS has continuously staffed the Maine SAC since 1999. The Maine Department of Corrections transferred the SAC to MSPS to ensure an independent, objective, research-based public service. The placement enables the SAC to operate as an objective consultant to state criminal justice agencies and many justice stakeholders. MSPS has continuously convened the Maine SAC Advisory Group which meets periodically and guides SAC projects and provide invaluable feedback on emerging work products. The SAC Advisory Group's expertise in state and federal policy, procedures, plans, data source access/availability and politics facilitates planning, supports expansion of broad-based justice data capacity building and information sharing, and reduces potential barriers to implementation of projects.
Under this award, the University of Southern Maine's Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) will conduct activities under the following Special Emphasis area: Conducting a statewide crime victimization survey. The Department of Corrections will transfer funds to the SAC at the University of Southern Maine to produce a third statewide crime victimization survey and report to provide trend updates to the governor and state legislators. The SAC will once again partner with the University's Survey Research Center (SRC) to conduct the survey. The SRC will purchase a list of possible survey participants from Survey Sampling Inc. The list will include individuals/households with a Maine area code that possess just a cell phone, those with just a landline, and those with both. A representative sample of 840 Maine residents will address questions on victimization, perceptions of crime, and characteristics of victims and offenders. The Maine Crime Victimization Survey (MCVS) will also include some questions from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) that will enable the SAC to compare findings from Maine to national findings. From the analysis, the Maine SAC will write a report and share the findings with the new legislature that will be seated in 2015, justice stakeholders, policymakers, the press, the public, and online through the University's website. Maine SAC staff will also make presentations on the report findings to government agencies and community groups upon request. (CA/NCF)