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Core Capacity Building Project 2020: COVID Impact to Oregon’s Public Safety System

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $224,547)

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 Oregon SAC (ORSAC) is housed Oregon Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) which became the State Administering Agency (SAA) in 2009. The ORSAC is requesting funds to support one core capacity project (COVID-19 Assessment) and one special emphasis project (Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Evaluation).

For the COVID-19 Assessment project, the ORSAC will use SJS funds to facilitate the analysis of several public safety measures to identify the impact of the COVID-19 event and response. The ORSAC has already seen large drops in the rate of police traffic stops, pressure on the state’s jail and prison systems to ensure the safety of inmates, changes in societal expectations of how police interact with citizens, concerns for the safety of socially isolated individuals and those at risk of domestic violence, and concerns from police chiefs and sheriffs that there will be increases in crime rates. The impact on the state’s criminal justice systems will be widespread and prolonged and may branch into yet unknown effects. Understanding the scale and scope of this impact will require an ongoing research effort from the Oregon SAC.

The COVID-19 Assessment project will help prepare policymakers and public safety services to anticipate, prepare, and respond to both future pandemic situations and future recessions, whether caused by infectious diseases or other factors. The ORSAC currently has access to several criminal justice administrative data systems, and will supply policymakers and criminal justice system stakeholders with an analysis of how the public safety system is changing in response to COVID-19.

For the special emphasis project, the ORSAC will use funds to combine criminal justice data with health care service use and spending data. The project’s goal will be to establish broader connections with a new source of health care and spending data as well as to investigate a new area of the intersection of criminal justice and health care systems in Oregon. Several metrics have been identified for the claims-based analysis that includes criminal justice involved populations. The first is the prevalence of mental health conditions and suicidality. Second, the utilization and associated spending for mental health services by type including: inpatient visits, emergency department visits, and outpatient visits. The ORSAC has established a new source of data through their partnership with the Center for Health Systems Effectiveness (CHSE) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The results will be arranged by subgroups, including pediatric populations, geography, patients with severe mental health illness vs those without severe mental health illness, and patients with recorded evidence of homelessness or housing instability.


Date Created: September 16, 2020