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Increased Access to Corrections Data

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $58,676)

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 Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) is the Illinois Statistical Analysis Center (ISAC). The ICJIA was created in 1983 and is located in the executive branch of state government, within the Public Safety domain of state agencies. The Illinois SAC is directly involved in providing research and evaluation support to the SAA, including conducting data analysis to identify areas of high need for strategic Request for Applications (RFA) development, identifying evidence based practices for program development, conducting program evaluation studies, and developing web-based criminal justice-related data resources for grantees submitting funding proposals.

Under this award, the ISAC will develop the capacity for the SAC to be able to attain access and better analyze criminal justice data across the State. In 2014, the SAC developed a web-based data tool that makes historic Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) data accessible for research purposes. This data tool, along with the criminal history and recidivism tool will eventually become obsolete if it cannot be continually updated with IDOC data. The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) has begun implementation of a new cloud-based record management system, called Offender 360. It is anticipated that the Offender 360 system, once fully implemented, will allow IDOC to efficiently manage the inmate tracking process in one central application, thereby significantly reducing paperwork, reporting and transfer costs.

However, the SAC has determined that the new relational data structures contained within this new system will necessitate changes to the process by which they gain access to IDOC data for research purposes. In the past, IDOC had the capacity within its Planning and Research Unit to provide the SAC with prepared yearly SPSS extract files of admissions, stock population and exits. With the advent of Offender 360, the SAC will need to build its own capacity to generate researchable data files directly from the web-based system, along with all the requisite documentation. IDOC’s new RMS system is built on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online platform and is fully integrated with all other Microsoft products, including SQL for report writing capabilities. SAC staff has been supplied with a read-only access to the Offender 360 portal, given basic web-based training on use of the system and realize the extensive programming work will be required to reproduce the same the offender-event record schema that was historically provided for research purposes.

Additionally, the effort to migrate the IDOC data, not only impacts the SAC ability to collect, analyze and research needed information, but also impacts future National Correction Program Reporting (NCRP) requirements. With the IDOC lacking the resources to prepare the raw data into the single record format required for NCRP submission, the SAC is tasked with collecting the proper information to ensure accurate information is being provided.

Ultimately, the ability to collect, analyze and research accurate and complete data will directly impact the SAC's ability to provide quality results whether it be through direct research with IDOC data or for their periodic preparation and submissions of NCRP information.


Date Created: September 25, 2015