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Criminal Justice Debt and Recidivism Study

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $48,407)

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 Minnesota Statistical Analysis Center (MN SAC), housed within the MN Department of Public Safety will use SJS funds to support one special emphasis project using administrative criminal justice data for research. The MN SAC will be conducting a data collection and study on the use of economic sanctions on a large subset of felony-level offenders. The MN SAC will work with the MN Department of Corrections (MN DOC) and the State Court Administrator’s Office (SCAO) to review a cohort of felony-level supervisees to measure the cumulative total of economic sanctions they acquired as they moved from courts to correctional jurisdictions. Jurisdictions across the country have increasingly used fines, fees, and restitution to punish and hold offenders accountable with little regard for whether these sanctions are actually paid and what impact these sanctions have on reentry, recidivism, and other relevant outcomes. The MN SAC will examine whether these sanctions were paid, waived for inability to pay, or sent to the MN Department of Revenue for collection. Subsequently, the study will review whether or not these debts and the payment or non-payment of these debts have any impact on multiple recidivism outcomes, including supervision revocations, new arrests, new convictions, and incarceration in state prisons.

This project will produce at least one final report that will provide a detailed account of criminal justice-related debt burdens encountered by a cohort of felony-level supervisees in Minnesota. Additional analysis will be completed to examine what effect, if any, criminal justice debt has on key supervision outcomes, including the successful completion of supervision, supervision failures, new arrests, and new criminal convictions. The MN SAC will work to promote this report within Minnesota (via the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Communications Department) and nationwide via our relationship with the Justice Research and Statistics Association.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.

Date Created: September 19, 2017