Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $198,485)
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 Vermont Department of Public Safety (DPS) is the State Administering Agency (SAA) for Vermont. On November 4, 2014, Governor Peter Shumlin signed Executive Order #06-14 designating DPS the Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) for the State of Vermont. Crime Research Group (CRG) is the research partner for DPS and will provide SAC services through a contract with DPS. CRG was selected for their expertise and prior experience with criminal justice efforts.
The VT SAC will conduct four projects: Two Core Capacity and Two Special Emphasis projects.
Under the first core capacity project, the VT SAC, in conjunction with CRG, will review the possible eligibility of individuals entering the court system and gather participant data from the alternative programs operating in Vermont to establish who is being served in the programs and to look for patterns of why all seemingly eligible people are not referred or participating in these programs. Additionally, with racial disparities believed to exist in the Vermont incarcerated population, this project will uncover if the alternative programs are contributing to racial and ethnic disparities.
Under the second core capacity project, the VT SAC, in conjunction with CRG, will undertake a comprehensive analysis of crimes against victims in Vermont during the period 2015-2019. This application proposes research using state NIBRS data, criminal histories, and court data on crimes against people, including arrests, prosecutions, and sentencing and seeks to understand if victims of different races are treated differently.
Under the first special emphasis project, the VT SAC, in conjunction with CRG, will inform the work of the NCJRP team in Vermont. The SAC has been part of the NCJRP Advisory Team and is requesting funding following the recommendation of the NCJRP Advisory Team to conduct a retrospective study using the Arnold Public Safety Assessment (PSA) to determine its potential value within Vermonts criminal justice system. The research question to be answered is: Does the Arnold PSA work for Vermonts criminal justice population? To conduct the project, the VT SAC will obtain administrative criminal justice data to research the usefulness of the Arnold PSA in Vermont. Criminal history records will be used to as part of conducting the retrospective study. The NCJRP will act as the steering committee for the project to provide guidance on key issues and to review findings and/or answer questions as they occur.
Under the second special emphasis project, the VT SAC, in conjunction with CRG, will expand on prior SJS projects where they created profiles of offenders across the criminal justice system to further the use of the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) as the framework for integrating services in the criminal justice system throughout the State. The SAC has been in the process of identifying offender characteristics for individuals touching the criminal justice system from law enforcement incidents to incarceration. The first project under this umbrella was the Offender Characteristics project in the 2017 BJS grant focused on the detained/incarcerated population and is still in process. This project proposes to build off of those efforts and scrutinize the probation and parole populations under the supervision of the Department of Corrections.