Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $86,624)
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 SAC is one of the two subunits of the West Virginia Office of Research and Strategic Planning (ORSP) tasked with statistical analysis of data and research on critical matters related to the administration of justice in the state. The SAC is located within the Division of Administrative Services (DAS), Justice and Community Services (JCS) per Executive Order No. 3-97 and 42 U.S.C. 3732. As part of the Executive branch of state government, JCS falls under the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (DMAPS) and serves as the State Administering Agency (SAA). The SAC Director reports to the DAS Deputy Director, who reviews and approves written reports. As such, the SAC works very closely with the SAA to provide data analysis and research support for the Governors Committee on Crime Delinquency and Correction, grant program staff, correctional leadership, state legislature and other key stakeholders in criminal justice system, ensuring that justice programs, policy development and adjustments as well as funding decisions are data-driven and evidence-based.
Under the FY 20 SJS project, the WV SAC will conduct two (2) projects.
For project one (1), the WV SAC will conduct a Core Capacity project where they will conduct research using NIBRS data. Specifically, the WV SAC will analyze data on the patterns and trends in violent crimes and property crimes in West Virginia residents for CY 2017 - 2019.
For project two (2), the WV SAC will conduct a Special Emphasis project where drug/narcotic offenses and sexual crimes continue to make up the largest percentage of WV Division of Corrections and Rehabilitative Services (WVDCR) commitments for FY2018. The WV SAC has identified that despite a steady decline in the states total population as well as a higher percentage of older residents in the state, the prison population has increased.
Facing a prison population growth that is higher than the national average and the associated high cost of incarceration, the state government and legislators adopted a series of alternative sentencing programs including the community-based corrections system where offenders are provided with supervision, rehabilitative treatment services while simultaneously assisting with reintegration. These reasons facilitated the enactment of the West Virginia Community Corrections Act. Research has shown that community-based corrections are less expensive than incarceration in jails or prisons.
As such, there are 30-Day Reporting Centers (DRC) operating in WV serving clients in 49 of West Virginias 55 counties. A daily average population of 1,025 clients used the DRCs in 2019. Day Report Centers in West Virginia serve a diverse range of clients including direct sentence clients; those offenders who are directly sentenced to a DRC by a judge, some of whom require unsupervised probation or regular probation or without any probation. These offenders typically spend an average of 1 14 months in DRC custody. Other admission types include referrals from Parole, DHHR, Family/ Drug Court, Probation, Pretrial Diversion, Evaluation and Home Confinement. However, only direct sentence clients will be included in this study because they are the only clients who are mandated to receive specified rehabilitative and/or supervision services. (CA/NCF)