Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $100,995)
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 Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) is the State Administrative Agency (SAA) which also houses the states Statistical Analysis Center (SAC). The SAC is proposing two projects: one core capacity building project (GIS-Mapping) and one special emphasis project (Evaluation of the County Intermediate Punishment, Drug and Alcohol Restrictive Intermediate Punishment (CIP/D&A RIP)).
The SAC is proposing to use GIS-mapping to enhance their visual representation of data, which will build upon the current PCCDs digital dashboards (previously SJS funded). The SAC hosts a wide range of publically available criminal justice statistics and trends, but the information is typically presented in graphs, spreadsheets and tables. Mapping the available data is the next step for PCCD to take visualization to the next level to assist key decision-makers throughout the state. The PA SAC will conduct spatial analysis of the data to compare and identify gaps in service and assist in strategic developments of solutions in those areas of need. The SAC has already begun a list of potential GIS-mapping projects that would be of benefit to the PCCD, other state agencies, county agencies and the public. The SAC intends to build the GIS-maps and the applications developed around them to be platform independent, available on both web site and mobile devices. This would allow the information to be more accessible to their intended audience. Towards the end of the project, PCCD will evaluate the quality of the maps and assess their usefulness and if the in-house GIS-mapping is valuable and needed, the SAC will explore the use of funding from other avenues to continue the GIS-mapping process.
Pennsylvania is actively exploring alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders with a drug and alcohol dependency. One such program is PCCDs CIP/D&A RIP, a diversionary treatment program for nonviolent, medium risk offenders, clinically diagnosed to have a drug and/or alcohol dependency. Because of this, PCCD is proposing to use SJS funding to perform an in-house multi-variant outcome study on CIP/D&A RIP offenders versus eligible offender receiving an incarceration sentence. The purpose of this study will be to utilize state criminal history records to answer the research question of whether diversionary treatment programming or incarceration has a greater impact on reducing recidivism among nonviolent, medium-risk, drug and alcohol dependent offenders? Understanding the results of the study will provide the primary benefit of informing the Pennsylvania Justice Reinvestment Initiative policy conversation and impacting future program decision-making. Another benefit of the study will be to move the CIP/D&A RIP program more towards a valid evidence-based program, since the program will be evaluated using both a treatment and control group of similar characteristic offenders.