Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $67,659)
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.
Marylands Statistical Analysis Center (MSAC) plays a vital role in the development of effective policies and practices in the criminal justice field. MSAC objectively supports the collection and analysis of statewide criminal justice statistics and evidence-based policies and practices, is a unit within the Maryland Governors Office of Crime Prevention, Youth and Victim Services (GOCPYVS), Marylands State Administering Agency. GOCPYVS plans, promotes, and funds efforts with government entities, private organizations, and the communities, to advance public policy, enhance public safety, reduce crime and juvenile delinquency, and serve victims. MSAC works in conjunction with GOCPYVS, and is aligned programmatically with the states public safety priorities.
The MSAC is requesting funds for a project under the themes collecting and analyzing data on criminal justice system processes and increasing access to statistical data under the Core Capacity-Building Project program area. Assessing court level data to do any type of aggregate analysis has always been challenging state. Recently the Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Service created the Client Legal Utility Engine (CLUE). This tool is a datascraper that pulls data directly from Marylands Judiciary Case Search, which is the states public facing court records search. The database includes Maryland district court and circuit records dating back to 1990. The MSAC recently received access to this database and is proposing eight different research projects using analysis of this data including tracking various arrest trends, pretrial hearing results, prosecution rates, sentencing length trends, court ordered restitution, local recidivism rates, and pretrial failure rates. The MSAC also proposes to further analyze this court data over the COVID-19 timeframe to determine what impact if any COVID-19 has had on court trends in the state. Collectively, these research projects will increase data transparency across the various criminal justice decision points in the State of Maryland from the point of arrest all the way through sentencing. (CA/NCF)