Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $81,119)
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 Kansas Sentencing Commission (KSC) was established by the 1989 Senate Bill 50 and is located within the Executive Branch. The KSC is the designated Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) for the State of Kansas. The membership of the KSC is statutorily defined and is made up of 17 members. The SAC conducts research and analysis on issues and processes in the criminal justice system, identifies alternative solutions and makes recommendations for improvements. The SAC staff produces statistical reports on findings regarding the impact of sentencing guidelines on prison populations, sentencing trends and practice in Kansas criminal justice. The SAC is involved in the ongoing collection and analysis of data derived from felony journal entries, probation revocation journal entries and the SB 123 program. The SAC also provides statistical information to state and federal agencies, academic entities, criminal justice associations, and other interested parties.
Under the 2019 SJS program, the Kansas SAC will conduct a Core Capacity and will use data currently available to the SAC for measuring criminal justice performance from a historical sense. This data is from self-collected sentencing data, probation disposition data, SB 123 drug treatment assessment data and payment data, which is used for monitoring sentencing policy and practice, policy impact assessments, statistical annual reports and research in the criminal justice area. KSC partnered with the Council of State Governments (CSG) in 2016 to launch a Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) funded pilot project examining drug treatment in rural parts of the state. Findings from the study revealed the need for increased accessibility of drug treatment in western Kansas, as well as improved measures of data collection. Thus, although the SB 123 serves as an evidence-based initiative proven to reduce recidivism, it is not without limitations. The KSC believes that this project would provide an immediate improvement of drug treatment outcomes in rural communities, decrease geography as a limiting barrier to treatment and advance the KSCs efforts to evaluate substance abuse treatment options.