Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $152,364)
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 New Mexico Criminal Justice Analysis Center began operation in June 1988 and later changed its name to the New Mexico Statistical Analysis Center (NMSAC). NMSAC is located within the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of New Mexico. NMSAC is responsible for providing data and technical assistance to criminal justice planners, improving the quality and usefulness of research and planning for criminal justice agencies, and increasing communication between state criminal justice agencies with regard to common issues of research and analysis. The NMSAC is under the leadership of a SAC director with assistance from graduate students who provide research support.
Under this award, the New Mexico Statistical Analysis Center (NMSAC) will conduct activities under the following Core Capacity area: Measuring criminal justice system performance, and Special Emphasis area: Conducting targeted analyses that use the states criminal history records. NMSAC will conduct two SJS-SAC Program projects. In the Core Capacity area, the NMSAC will continue to examine the impact of New Mexicos constitutional amendment on bail, passed in 2016. During the first year, the NMSAC focused on gathering baseline data and constructing performance measures to assess pre-amendment practices. This year, the focus will be on implementing the bail reform efforts and gathering data to assess two outcomes: release decisions and pretrial compliance. NMSAC will begin by collecting qualitative data to determine whether officials are implementing bail practices as intended and identifying challenges to implementation. In addition, NMSAC will assess pretrial release information for changes during the implementation phase of the bail reform. Study findings will be published in online reports. Results are expected to assist the state as they begin to implement the new constitutional amendment.
In the Special Emphasis area, the NMSAC will continue to partner with the New Mexico Sentencing Commission to explore the completeness, validity, duplication, accuracy, and consistency of disposition and sentencing data in the states criminal justice and administrative datasets. This year, the SAC will use the data collected to examine case processing outcomes for a sample of defendants charged with aggravated assault and sexual assault. A final report will be delivered to each participating agency to describe the results of the assessment and recommendations for improvement.
Funds are also being requested for in-state travel costs to conduct interviews and observe court hearings. Travel funds will be used for the SAC Director to attend a SAC focused conference or meeting in 2019.