Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $59,785)
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 Maine Statistical Analysis Center (ME SAC) is staffed by the University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service. The ME SAC, in collaboration with the Maine Department of Corrections (DOC), will conduct one core capacity project to develop an evaluation framework and performance measures for state organizations providing restorative justice (RJ). RJ is a statewide tool to address crime and disputes involving the victim(s), offender(s), and community members. In an effort to divert some low level youth offenders from the juvenile justice system, DOC, Division of Juvenile Services has encouraged its juvenile community corrections officers (i.e., probation officers) to refer some low risk youth to RJ programs as an alternative to current practices. The focus of the RJ programs is mainly on enhancing/improving cognitive skill development and modeling prosocial relationships through mentorships with people in the community. In the last 10+ years, RJ programs have grown and the services have become a popular means to resolve certain crimes. The services vary in the RJ programs throughout the state and data and outcomes from the expanding RJ programs have not been collected or analyzed.
Under this award, the ME SAC will work with ME DOC, the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, and various other RJ organizations and practitioners to develop an evaluation framework, outcomes (initial, intermediate, and long-term), and performance measures for the various Maine organizations providing RJ services. Also, the Maine SAC will develop a template for an RJ evaluation report that DOC plans to produce annually. The methodology includes initially meeting with the various stakeholders to identify and assess the current groups providing RJ services in the state. From the meetings, the ME SAC will establish a method of collecting the data from the various RJ groups. The information and data will be received, cleaned and then analyzed to develop a template for best practices for the RJ programs in the form of a first report with subsequent reports produced based on input and meetings with the ME SAC and relevant agencies.
Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.