Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $224,960)
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 Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) is the State Administrative Agency (SAA) which also houses the states SAC. The SAC will use SJS funds for 2 projects: one core capacity building project (GIS-Mapping Enhancement) and one special emphasis project (Developing a Recidivism Tool).
For the GIS-Mapping Enhancement project, PCCD will use SJS funds to use GIS-Mapping to enhance their visual representation of data, which will build upon the current PCCDs digital dashboards (previously 2015 SJS funded) and GIS-mapping projects (2016 SJS funded). PCCDs SAC hosts a wide range of publically available criminal justice data and statistics and mapping the data will enhance the visualization and data analysis in addition to increasing the availability to relevant masses. Since using GIS-mapping in 2015, the spatial analysis of data allows policy makers to identify gaps in service and assist in the strategic development of solutions to meet those needs in addition to finding it is a valuable tool for detailed data analysis. For 2018, the PCCD will build on the GIS-mapping with three projects: 1) mapping areas in regions throughout PA with statistically higher high school dropout rates, incarceration rates, and/or high crime rates for policy decision making; 2) mapping analysis to develop a formula for counties which support probation sentences that are alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders with substance abuse and/or mental illness; and 3) using the Alteryx analytic software for mapping analysis in Philadelphia school districts to show the locations where police department resources are dispatched to in order to investigate criminal incidents which will provide the frequency and types of crimes occurring within public school areas.
For the Recidivism Tool project, PCCD will use SJS funds to develop a recidivism tool, accessible through the Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET), which will be a single, statewide integrated data system for criminal justice data that will enable researchers and criminal justice practitioners to calculate recidivism rates. The project has 2 objectives: 1) to improve the ability of researchers to explore the impact policies and programs have on criminal justice involved individuals; and 2) to improve the ability of practitioners to ascertain the immediate or long-range effectiveness of programs and make resource-based decisions. The current process of collecting data from agencies involves collecting single or siloed data sets which is a lengthy process which involves the researcher to match up records from the different sources. The project includes three separate data requests that includes the records being matched to the PCCD/DOC records: 1) offenders court and sentencing records from the Administrative Office of PA Courts (AOPC); 2) offender information from the PA Commission on Sentencing (PCS) to gain an understanding of the sentence (treatment, seriousness of crime, etc.); and 3) requesting information from PA State Police (PSP)( for criminal history information and RAP sheets to determine if offenders were rearrested.