Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $135,625)
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 New Mexico Statistical Analysis Center (NMSAC) located within the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of New Mexico. The NMSAC is responsible for providing data and technical assistance to criminal justice planners, improving the quality and usefulness of research and planning for criminal justice agencies, and increasing communication between state criminal justice agencies with regard to common issues of research and analysis. The NMSAC is under the leadership of a SAC director with assistance from graduate students who provide research support.
Under this award, the NMSAC will conduct activities under the following Core Capacity area: Measuring criminal justice system performance, and Special Emphasis area: Conducting targeted analyses that use the states criminal history records. In the Core Capacity area, the NMSAC plans to examine the impact of New Mexicos constitutional amendment on bail, passed in 2016. The NMSAC will create baseline performance measures to assess pre-amendment practices. Focus will be on release decision-making, pre-trial detention as it relates to release decisions and success during the pre-trial period. The NMSAC will describe the performance measures among those in the sample, and explore variables associated with release decisions, amount of bond ordered, and pretrial failure. In addition, the NMSAC will explore whether bond type and amount, along with other legal and extralegal variables, are associated with pretrial detention. For this initial year, four counties will be included in the study Dona Ana, Santa Fe, Chaves, and Luna. These four counties are able to provide automated information about bail and are able to do so without making the process burdensome. Study findings will be shared with policy-makers and other stakeholders throughout the state. Results are expected to assist the state as they begin to implement the new constitutional amendment.
In the Special Emphasis area, the NMSAC will partner with the New Mexico Sentencing Commission to explore the completeness, validity, duplication, accuracy, and consistency of disposition and sentencing data in the states criminal justice and administrative datasets. The data will also be used to examine case processing outcomes for a sample of defendants charged with aggravated assault and sexual assault. A final report will be delivered to each participating agency to describe the results of the assessment and recommendations for improvement. Funds are also being requested for the SAC Director to attend the fall 2017 BJS/Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA) Eastern Regional Meeting and the 2018 National Criminal Justice Association Annual Forum.
Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.