Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $202,440)
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 Wyoming Statistical Analysis Center (WYSAC) is located within the College of Arts and Science at the University of Wyoming. The WYSAC is requesting funds to support one core capacity project (Evaluation of County Juvenile Diversion Programs) and one special emphasis project (Data Exchange).
For the core capacity project, the WYSAC will use SJS funds to partner with Volunteers of America (VOA) to evaluate the effectiveness of Wyomings 15 county juvenile diversion programs in diverting juveniles away from the criminal justice system; identify effective components of the diversion programs; develop an electronic infrastructure for collecting data on juvenile recidivism; and increase access to and use of this data among researchers and policy-makers through developing a web-based reporting tool. The WYSAC will calculate recidivism rates at 12 and 24 months following program completion and conduct further analysis to examine how the assessed risk level of the juveniles is associated with or predicts their failure or success. The project will track the outcomes of all youth who have encountered the juvenile justice system to accurately and comprehensively measure recidivism rates and promote accountability. Steps for the project include: developing a web-based system, creating an electronic data collection and management system; conducting the Sweetwater County pilot program; analyzing results from the Sweetwater County Pilot program; training county staff on data collection and reporting; obtaining information from the other county diversion programs; and producing a final report of the pilot study and plan moving forward.
For the special emphasis project, the WYSAC will establish the infrastructure for the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to share criminal history record information with WYSAC. The data exchange will initially be used to answer research questions about how the states judicial system currently identifies and reports victim/offender relationship data to DCI. The WYSAC will collect victim/offender relationship data from the Division of Victim Services (DVS) crime victim compensation program and DCIs criminal history records to identify offenders convicted of MCDVs. WYSAC will then compare the information collected to records in the Interstate Identification Index (III) and National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to measure the number of individuals who should be disqualified from purchasing a firearm but are not due to the victim/offender relationship not being identified in DCI, III, or NICS. The project includes the WYSAC conducting a nationwide policy analysis to learn how the other state systems identify and report victim/offender relationships and identify best practices which also involves interviewing key decision-makers to assess the states capacity to make policy changes in the victim/offender relationship reporting.