Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $21,848)
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 Indiana Statistical Analysis Center is housed within the Research and Planning Division of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). Guided by a Board of Trustees representing all components of Indianas criminal and juvenile justice systems, ICJI serves as the States planning agency for criminal justice, drug and crime services, youth services, traffic safety, and victim services. The Institute develops long range strategies for the effective administration of Indianas criminal and juvenile justice systems and administers federal and state funds to carry out these strategies. The SAC is managed by a director and three research associates.
Under this award, the Indiana SAC will conduct activities under the following Special Emphasis area: Conducting targeted analyses that use the states criminal history records. The SAC proposes to conduct two projects by linking criminal history records to other data sources to explore patterns of criminal behavior and recidivism. With the first project, the SAC will use criminal history records to create a profile of domestic violence throughout the state, specifically a profile of offenders. The data sources that will be used will be Indianas jail booking system (livescan), the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council (PAC) charging records,and court abstract records. The goal of this project will be to create a comprehensive profile that will provide more insight into domestic violence in Indiana and lead to increased awareness.
In 2014, the Indiana General Assembly introduced and passed House Enrolled Act 1006 (HEA 1006), which represented the first criminal code rewrite in 40 years. HEA 1006 took Indiana from a class felony structure, classes A through D, to a level structure, levels F1 to F6, with F6 being the least severe felonies. ICJI has been charged with conducting an annual evaluation of the code reform and its impact on the state and local levels. A major component of the rewrite changed how drug offenses can be charged based on multiple variables. Criminal justice practitioners have expressed concerns that the changes have resulted in an increase in offenders, who are likely drug dealers, accepting guilty pleas for a F6 charge and a decrease in the ability to obtain a conviction for a higher level felony. The SAC is proposing a project to analyze felony arrest charges and associated sentences for those cases to determine if the concern voiced by the practitioners is valid and worthy of a proposed policy change. This project will utilize data from Indianas livescan system, charging records from the Prosecutors Case Management System, and court abstract records.
Funds are also requested for SAC staff to attend the ASUCRP Conference and the JRSA spring or fall meeting in 2019.