Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $181,040)
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 Iowa Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) is located in the Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning (CJJP) within the Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR). The SAC is requesting funds to conduct a core capacity project (Expanding the Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol (SPEP)) and two special emphasis projects (Research Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and the Office of the State Public Defender Assessment for Indigent Defenses).
Expanding the Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol (SPEP) The SAC will use funds to expand the use of the Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol (SPEP), a diagnostic tool developed to assess the effectiveness of service delivery for system involved youth in an effort to reduce recidivism. The project will include the execution of the SPEP process, including the completion of program improvement planning and analysis, in three additional judicial districts in Iowa. This project seeks to increase the capacity of the Iowa SAC by expanding the evidence-based practice range to more efficiently and effectively use federal funds for justice system projects that demonstrate a reduction in recidivism.
Research Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault The SAC will use funds to examine criminal history records to research the prevalence of domestic violence and sexual assault to determine the impact of proposed mandatory minimum sentencing for habitual offenders. A lack of research currently exists to support the hypothesis that increasing sentencing for these offenders will improve victim outcomes or increase public safety. The CJJP, along with their two codified councils, have been tasked to study and report on the effects and impact of new sentencing guidelines. Researchers will inform committees and other constituents through the study of domestic and sexual violence through a historical review of criminal history to determine whether an association exists between prior offense level and future criminality. Charges and convictions will also be analyzed to determine whether offenders charged with dual domestic and sexually violent crimes are convicted as charged or whether offenders are sentenced on a singular offense. Programming for convicted offenders, whether in prison or in the community, will also be analyzed to determine whether behavioral issues are addressed and whether revocation rates are higher for a particular segment.
Office of the State Public Defender Assessment for Indigent Defenses The SAC will work with the Office of the State Public Defender (SPD) to assess current data systems and develop key indicators to study indigent defense outcomes. The SPD plans to implement a process by which indigent offenders are able to select their attorney as opposed to random appointment of counsel. The SAC will serve as evaluator of this project. An overall assessment prior to beginning the study will be conducted to determine the enhancements needed to the data, and examine and define key indicators that are most likely to produce the outcomes. This is a multi-year project with the first year of the project focusing on data availability and defining key indicators essential to determining whether case outcomes improve for indigent offenders who are afforded client choice. (CA/NCF)
Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.