Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $236,680)
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 Wyoming Statistical Analysis Center (WY SAC) is located within the College of Arts and Science at the University of Wyoming. The WY SAC will be conducting one three-year core capacity project (Investigating the Success Rates of Felony Probationers and Parolees) to measure criminal justice system performance.
The WY SAC will use SJS funds to collaborate with the Wyoming Department of Corrections (DOC) to analyze the DOC data to better understand why the felony probation and parole success rates have decreased in Wyoming in recent years. The DOC gathers data on the success rates of felony probationers and parolees to assess the primary functions of public safety, rehabilitation, and case management. From 2013-14 the success rate for parolees had a 6 percent decrease while over the last 4 years reviewed (FY11-FY14), the success rate for parolees decreased by 19.8 percent. Preliminary information indicates that the decrease may be attributed to fewer inmates receiving necessary treatment due to budget cuts in substance abuse programs in prison. The WY SAC will analyze the data collected to determine why the success rates have decreased in recent years. Additionally, the WY SAC will analyze the data to understand who fails on probation and parole and why; when they fail; what changes to services have had an impact on the failure rate; and the effectiveness of the services.
Activities to complete the 3-year project includes: Year 1) meet with DOC to determine variables and merge the datasets, determine statistical model, then clean, manage, and analyze the data with the goal of providing a report with the methods, findings, and recommendations; Year 2 and Year 3) WYSAC will complete the study of the probation and parole programs which will assess the effectiveness of the probation and parole programs. The study will include a literature review and program evaluations to determine how well the programs are following the identified best practices. A final report with the findings and recommendations will be completed at the end of the third year.
The goals and objectives of the project include enhancing the WY SACs capabilities by expanding and analyzing information for the states probation and parole programs. Additional information and analysis will provide a better understanding of the issue and allow stakeholders and policy-makers a more clear picture in future criminal justice policy decisions.