Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $426,101)
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 (USM) Muskie School of Public Service (MSPS). The ME SAC, in collaboration with the Maine Department of Corrections (ME DOC), will conduct one core capacity project (Evaluation of Deferred Disposition in Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Cases) and one special emphasis project (Assessing Sex Offender Recidivism).
For the Evaluation of Deferred Disposition (DD) project, the ME SAC will evaluate the use of deferred disposition in cases of domestic and sexual assault in Maine from 2012-2019. Deferred disposition is a plea or sentencing alternative in many jurisdictions and typically involves the accused pleading guilty and agreeing to certain conditions such as probation or rehabilitation to be met over a period of time. The 2-year project includes initially meeting with the ME Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MECASA) and the ME Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MECEDV) to understand the use of DD in Maine and determine which data variables will be included in the request to the ME District Attorney Technical Services (MEDATS). The ME SAC will then work with MEDATS to design the data queries and obtain the eventual data extracts which will include the prosecutorial district, the year, and the number of DV and SA cases that were prosecuted, the DV and SA cases prosecuted with a DD, and the number of DD cases that were closed and the number of DD cases that failed. A DD questionnaire will be developed which will be used to interview judges, prosecutors and advocates to understand the use of DD and how it has evolved over time. The result of the data queries and interviews will be compiled and analyzed with findings included in a DD final report.
For the Assessing Sex Offender Recidivism project, the ME SAC will collaborate with the Massachusetts SAC to study recidivism rates of sex offenders who were released from supervision in 2005 or later. Both SACs will have access to criminal history records from their states to track any type of arrest or conviction for any member of the cohort. The cohort data will be obtained from the Department of Corrections from each state. The information from each state will be shared between the SACs to identify cohort members who recidivate in the neighboring state. Analyses will focus on whether cohort members, categorized by offender type, were arrested or convicted of a subsequent sex offense, violent offense, or any other offense. Survival analysis will be used to determine recidivism rates for each offender type as well as each type of recidivism. The study also includes examining each states risk assessment tool and the ability to predict recidivism. The analysis will be conducted for the cohort as a whole and will include recidivism on 1, 5, and 10 year timeframes. Further analysis will be repeated for each offender type and for each type of recidivism. The joint study will enhance both SACs' capacity to analyze criminal history records and corrections data and integrate two datasets along with risk assessment data into one dataset that can be queried to assess trends in re-offending behavior for those individuals originally convicted of a sex offense. The analyses and findings of the 2-year joint study will result in a final report and PowerPoint presentation available to stakeholders and accessible on the Maine SAC website.