Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $224,750)
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 Vermont Department of Public Safety (DPS) is the State Administering Agency (SAA) for Vermont. On November 4, 2014, Governor Peter Shumlin signed Executive Order #06-14 designating DPS the Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) for the State of Vermont. Crime Research Group (CRG) is the research partner for DPS and will provide SAC services through a contract with DPS. CRG was selected for their expertise and prior experience with criminal justice efforts. CRG's goals are as follows: 1) to collect and analyze criminal justice information; 2) to produce general information and statistical reports on crime, criminal offenders, and the administration of criminal justice; 3) to provide and coordinate technical assistance to the legislature and to state and local law enforcement agencies, the courts and corrections and 4) to create an evidence-based criminal justice system.
The VT SAC will conduct three projects: One Core Capacity and Two Special Emphasis projects.
Under the Core Capacity project, the VT SAC, in conjunction with CRG, will develop crime analysis reports on issues of interest using incident-based crime data. Specifically, the VT SAC will identify crime data compatible with NIBRS that will allow them to generate six (6) incident-based crime analysis reports on issues that the Working Group has selected. The topics currently proposed are drugs, drug-related crime, driving under the influence (DUI), domestic violence, property crimes and weapons related crimes. The SAC believes that once complete, the reports will provide the SAC and the state better capability to analyze and interpret law enforcement data. Ultimately, the objective of the project is to provide criminal justice partners in Vermont data driven crime analysis reports, improve data collection, improve data quality and publicly disseminate new analyzable datasets and reports of specific crimes on the SAC website.
Under project one (1) of the Special Emphasis project, the VT SAC, in conjunction with CRG, will establish data exchanges that will provide the SAC with data on crimes against vulnerable adults and the elderly. Additionally, and once the data exchange is complete, the VT SAC will conduct a study using state criminal histories and court data on crimes against vulnerable adults and the elderly, including arrests, prosecutions and sentencing.
Under project two (2), the VT SAC and CRG, will use administrative and operational criminal justice data to research rural and domestic violence in Vermont. Due to the geographical makeup of the state, the VT SAC will research the prevalence of and exposure to domestic violence in rural areas of the state. Due to the higher rates of substance abuse, unemployment in rural areas, transportation challenges and longer distances to domestic violence and health-related services, isolation in rural areas creates a challenging barrier and reporting issue of domestic violence.