Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $109,341)
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 SAC is staffed by the University of Southern Maine (USM) Muskie School of Public Service (MSPS). The Maine Department of
Corrections (DOC) transferred the SAC to MSPS to ensure an independent, objective, research-based public service. The SAC proposes to conduct two projects, one core capacity (Development of Drug Control, Violence and Crime Prevention and System Improvement Multi-Year Strategy Plan) and one special emphasis (Survey of Maine Police Chiefs, County Sheriffs and other Local and State Law Enforcement Officials on the Use of Data in their Departments).
In the late 1990s the Maine Justice Assistance Council (MJAC) developed a Drug Control, Violence and Crime Prevention & System Improvement Multi-Year Strategy Plan for Maine. Released in 2000, the plan focused on crime problems such as drug abuse, violent acts, and juvenile crime. In the initial years the plan provided an important framework in guiding MJAC work and the efforts of state, local and multi-jurisdictional law enforcement agencies (LEAs). While the plan has been periodically reviewed and refined it has not been re-done since 2000. The SAC will enter into a partnership with MJAC and the SAA to conduct a comprehensive Plan. The SAC will survey LEAs, state agencies with a justice-focus, and community-based organization involved in juvenile justice, substance abuse, and domestic violence. The SAC will also hold regional focus groups and interviews with key community-based providers to ascertain the most pressing justice-related issues in their locales. The survey and subsequent interviews will also explore how effective crime prevention program strategies are at addressing current crime problem and issues. In addition, the SAC will review the latest crime statistics from DPS, DOC, and AOC to establish which crime statistics are most pressing. The need for the Strategic Plan to be reconstructed is now a priority to help guide the work for the next 3-5 years.
Additionally, the SAC proposes to survey all 131 municipal, county and state LEAs on their use of data, personnel response to data collection, collection and reporting of incident-based data, sharing data, and providing statistics to the community. The SAC will collect data and gauge how departments use the data to assess performance, make budget decisions, make deployment and tactical decisions, respond to inquiries, and compare to other jurisdictions. The results of the survey can be used to educate policy makers about the need for additional data collection, entry, and analysis training resources and the acquisition of computer hardware and software. The survey will be developed by a small team organized by the SAC, seek IRB approval, and then pilot the survey to a small sample of LEAs with the goal of releasing the survey to all LEAs by early January. The Muskie Schools Survey Research Center (SRC) will handle all survey administration. The project will enable the SAC to forge relationships with many of Maines local LEAs in addition to enhance the SACs visibility with many agencies that know very little about the SACs work. The project will also give the SAC a better understanding of local law enforcement data analysis skills which would potentially allow for future projects with some of the agencies. The project will provide insight as to the software and/or tracking mechanisms that departments use to monitor criminal activity in their respective jurisdictions. (CA/NCF)