Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $219,432)
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 New Mexico Criminal Justice Analysis Center began operation in June 1988 and later changed its name to the New Mexico Statistical Analysis Center (NMSAC). NMSAC is located within the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of New Mexico. NMSAC is responsible for providing data and technical assistance to criminal justice planners, improving the quality and usefulness of research and planning for criminal justice agencies, and increasing communication between state criminal justice agencies with regard to common issues of research and analysis. The NMSAC is under the leadership of a SAC director with assistance from graduate students who provide research support.
Under this award, the New Mexico Statistical Analysis Center (NMSAC) will conduct activities under the following Core Capacity area: Collecting and analyzing data on criminal justice system processes. Working with the New Mexico Sentencing Commission, the NMSAC plans to examine prosecutorial discretion and case processing to understand prosecutors decisions regarding felony case initiation type (preliminary hearing versus grand jury indictment), and how this influences outcomes, including case dismissals. While there has been some assessment of outcomes of felony cases initiated through preliminary hearings in Bernalillo County, these assessments are limited. The NMSAC is unaware of any state studies that have observed felony case progression, including changes in charges. Therefore, the NMSAC plans to examine case progression from filing to disposition, highlighting changes in charging over the course of cases. This work will address any gaps in information that may exist. Study findings will be shared with stakeholders throughout New Mexico and published on the SACs website.
Funds will be used to pay for management and program support personnel, who will perform coordination and monitoring activities, including programmatic and fiscal oversight. Travel funds will be used for the SAC Director to attend SAC-focused conferences or meetings in 2020 and 2021.