Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $78,026)
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 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. MS-SAC seeks to assess the existing landscape of personnel, workforce recruitment, training, and technological capacities in correctional facilities in the state of Mississippi. To date, there has never been a statewide assessment of Mississippis personnel capacities, personnel recruitment strategies workforce turnover trends, training programs and trajectory, or pathways for improvement statewide.
Mississippi operates prisons in the northern, central, and southern regions of the state. There are also 3 privately operated facilities and 15 regional holding facilities. There is estimated to be 2700 sworn persons and approximately 250 employees in a supervisory or leadership position. A survey will be administered to all these personnel with a diverse set of questions pertaining to recruiting, career trajectory, staying employed at Mississippis Department of Corrections (MDOC), salary schedules, demographic information, and training. The goal of this survey is to establish baseline data regarding corrections personnel and discover potential challenges, which may affect workforce management over the course of the states mission to plan improvements. The second part of the project is to conduct a series of roundtable discussions with MDOC personnel about the issues that affect the reduction in service. An analysis of existing data will also be conducted to determine the nature of personnel turnover and issues at the workforce management level. Finally, the MS-SAC will assess the technology infrastructure within the facilities for linkage across jurisdictions and connection to MDOC. Deliverables are expected to include multiple briefings, publications, technical reports, and a town hall meeting hosted by the MS-SAC.
Funds are also being requested for in-state travel to MDOC for meetings about the project and staff travel to one of the JRSA regional meetings. Supplies and indirect costs are also requested.