Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $71,970)
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. This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law, and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements 2CFR 200.210(a)(14).
The School of Criminal Justice at the University of 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 day-to-day operations of the SAC are managed by the SAC Director, Dr. Charles Scheer, with assistance from graduate students who serve as research analysts.
Under this award, the MS-SAC, will conduct activities under the following Core Capacity area: Increasing access to statistical data. The MS-SAC seeks to measure the performance of municipal criminal investigations and detective bureaus in the state of Mississippi. To date, there has never been a statewide census or evaluation of the mechanisms, operational capabilities, personal character, and challenges faced by the detective and investigation divisions serving the states 300 municipalities.
As evidenced by the soon-to-be-completed 2017 Mississippi Law Enforcement Census, municipalities and jurisdictions vary widely statewide with respect to budget, personnel, and crime rate, all of which impact the mission of detective bureaus to manage their respective caseloads. Without any comprehensive census of what specifically those impacts are, the overall mission of policing in the state can be stunted, resulting in a patrol-based approach to crime prevention and case resolution. Without comprehensive data on the landscape of detective caseload, no evidence-based policies and proposals for the improvement of the states investigations capacity can be effected. Detectives throughout the state do not communicate about personnel and workload challenges, or share experiences unrelated to specific cases, in a manner other than anecdote and social interaction. This proposal seeks to measure their overall performance using benchmarks derived from discussion and consult with these individuals themselves, and build a mechanism by which agencies can measure the efficacy of their approaches and strategies. In addition, the proposal seeks to build a training component which can act as a source of discovery and data-sharing which will be a contribution to the states criminal justice framework by allowing detectives to continually monitor their own growth and evolutionary trajectory using benchmarking.
Funds are also being requested for in-state travel to local police departments to collect data and staff travel to the 2020 JRSA Eastern Regional meeting.