Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $74,772)
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 School of Criminal Justice at the University of Southern Mississippi was designated as Mississippis Statistical Analysis Center (MS-SAC) by Governor Musgrove on October 6, 2000. The mission of the MS-SAC is to provide Mississippi justice agencies and the public with sound statistical information and technical assistance in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system.
The Mississippi Statistical Analysis Center (MS-SAC) seeks to create an electronic repository of juvenile arrest data for the state of Mississippi. Currently, there is no comprehensive data collection site to store Mississippis juvenile criminal justice activity. An internal management system for juvenile court systems exists, but this system is restricted to court personnel use.
The need for a central database of juvenile arrest data serves two specific needs. First, there is continual focus on Raise the Age legislation which would monitor the ages of individuals who enter the criminal justice system in an effort to reform criminal justice system approaches to youth and juvenile crime in the state. Without comprehensive data on the landscape of juvenile arrests and crime patterns, efforts to research potential reformative solutions are stunted.
Second, at the county level, reporting of juvenile crimes to the Uniform Crime Reporting apparatus is inconsistent. Without any knowledge of the current state of county-level UCR reporting, the states efforts to comprehensively address juvenile criminal activity is restricted. Using juvenile arrest data to improve upon existing data sets made available to practitioners and researchers can increase the understanding of trends regarding juvenile crimes in Mississippi.
Funds are also being requested for in-state travel to local courts to collect data and staff travel to the 2018 fall JRSA meeting.