Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $209,581)
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 MESAC is staffed by the University of Southern Maine (USM) Muskie School of Public Service (MSPS). For the FY20 SJS award, the MESAC, in collaboration with the Maine Department of Corrections (ME DOC), will continue work from the SJS 2019 award to complete one core capacity project (Evaluation of Bias and Hate Crimes) and one special emphasis project (Assessing the Scope of the Pretrial Jail Population).
For the Evaluation of Bias and Hate Crimes in Maine, the MESAC will continue to work with several criminal justice stakeholders to determine the clearance rates for hate and bias crimes in the state. The rates of hate crimes have dropped significantly since 2018 but it is unknown in the state how long these crimes take to be cleared. In addition, MESAC will explore whether any LEAs investigated hate or bias crimes that were not reported through the Crime in Maine and UCR reports. In FY19, the MESAC compiled data from LEAs and developed a clearance rate survey tool. For FY20, the MESAC will focus on the evaluation of the number of hate/bias crimes in the state over a 10-year period from 2009-2018. Project activities include: reviewing hate crime reporting; finalizing methodological approach; distributing clearance rate survey tool; analyze results; and finalizing and presenting the final report to BJS and stakeholders.
For the Assessing the Scope of the Pretrial Jail Population project, the MESAC will continue to work with several criminal justice stakeholders at the local levels to identify the factors that contribute to delays in pretrial services in each location. In FY19, the MESAC reviewed pretrial literature and obtained, cleaned and analyzed jail data. For FY20, the MESAC will continue the research by reviewing three years of data on the pretrial population of the jails from five counties and examine the records for pretrial detainees who spent more than two days in jail. The examination will include the reason for the delay such as charging decisions, bail and pretrial release, and initial arraignment. Project activities include: obtaining bail commissioner data, obtaining prosecutorial data, conducting interviews with five county stakeholders; and developing the final report.