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Improve Access to Multi-Sector Data for Criminal Justice Research - Targeted Research Studies

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Past Project Period End Date
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $464,852)

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 Washington State Statistical Analysis Center (WA SAC) is located in the Health and Human Services Section of the Washington State Office of Financial Management’s (OFM) Forecasting and Research Division.

Under the 2018 project, the WA SAC will conduct five projects: One Core Capacity and four Special Emphasis.

Under the core capacity project, the WA SAC will conduct the first of a three year effort to expand the state’s Justice Research Database and expand the functionality of the linking database tool, Criminal Justice Star. This project will expand upon the collaborative efforts of the Washington State Education Research and Data Center (ERDC) and the WA SAC between 2015 -2017 by now including the Washington State Patrol (WSP) to determine a process that will allow criminal history and arrest data to be added to the Criminal Justice Star.

Under Project 1 of the special emphasis project, the WA SAC will conduct a study on the long term recidivism of sex offenders. Specifically, the WA SAC will answer questions on the near linear trend of sex offender recidivism over a period 10 to 15 years as compared to the “normal” recidivism trend of 1–5 years. The WA SAC will use criminal history records and correctional information from the Criminal Justice Data Tool to assess sex offender recidivism patterns over a 10-year and a 15-year period, while noting the rates at lower year intervals as well. Criminal history data held by the Washington State Patrol includes sex offenders whose registered offenses occurred within the state, as well as information on offenders moving in or out of the state and those who have died during the study period.

Under Project 2, the WA SAC will evaluate the predictive efficacy of disciplinary records on later juvenile involvement with the criminal justice system. Essentially, answering the question as to whether school disciplinary records are an effective way to predict future offending, and if so what other covariates may aid in making that prediction accurate.

Under Project 3, the WA SAC will create a statewide criminal justice profile with an emphasis on differences by location. The SAC like some other states have used and relied on Uniform Crime Reports over periods of time to understand patterns of criminal behavior and trends. The WA SAC noted that statistics, such as the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, are often quoted as representative of entire regions, despite the fact that they aggregate areas that do not necessarily have a great deal in common. Doing such, they believe, is necessary but oversimplifies the data results. However, incident based data generates a research opportunity to address this issue and create a better platform from which to understand the local status of criminal justice matters.

Under Project 4, the WA SAC will assess disparities in the criminal justice system by each decision point. The WA SAC will conduct a study by collecting statistics for arrests, charges, convictions, sentences, and correctional terms from the WSP’s criminal history records and the Criminal Justice Star, from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2017 to measure the disparity. This issue arose for the SAC from a state Senate Bill that aimed to conduct a statewide review on sentencing disparity. Ultimately, the bill didn’t pass within the state but, the interest still remained for the legislation and the public.


Date Created: September 21, 2018