BJS/JRSA 2009 National Conference - October 22-23, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri
  Table Sessions

Issues and Methodology for an Implementation Evaluation of a Community Coalition-Based Violence Prevention Initiative

Mark Myrent
Research Director
Research and Analysis Unit
Mark Powers
Research Analyst
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority has been conducting an implementation evaluation of Safety Net Works, a state-sponsored initiative designed to prevent youth violence and promote positive youth development in numerous communities across Illinois. The defining characteristic of Safety Net Works is a community coalition approach, in which direct service providers form a coalition or maintain an existing coalition to increase the available resources for youth ages 10-24. The coalitions vary in membership, structure, services available, and history, presenting several methodological challenges for evaluation. Discussion will include the choice of a formative evaluation framework, the use of a web-based survey through an external website to address coalition member views in impoverished communities, how the program variation across coalitions impacts the evaluation, and issues and findings from interviewing coalition members.

Bridging the Gap Between Researchers and Practitioners

Jamie Price
Socialphenom, Inc.
West Palm Beach, Florida

There are many avenues for inquiry. Our ability to interpret observations in social science research may depend greatly on how observations are structured. Because approaches are different, there tends to be a gap between researchers and practitioners. Often practitioners are interested in tracking people and resources rather than patterns and trends. Data, and particularly agency data, have many potential research uses, but because they are often produced for purposes other than research, they may be unsuitable. This table session will focus on at least three important issues: social production of data, purposes of agency data, and tracking people and resources rather than patterns. In turn, solutions will be sought in attempting to narrow this gap and encourage collaboration.

Traffic Crashes and Sex Offender Mapping

Cristian Oros
Department of Public Safety
Missouri State Highway Patrol

This table session will focus on crime-mapping methodologies. ESRI ArcIMS technology was used to program a web mapping application that analyzes current and historical data on traffic crashes. Law enforcement uses this tool to look at patterns of crashes that occurred on certain highways and street intersections. Search criteria were based on COMSTAT strategic planning requirements.

The same technology was used to locate the addresses of registered sex offenders on a map. The Sex Offender Registry website was developed to help the public search for sex offenders that live in their area. The website provides capabilities of searching by name, alias name, address type, city, and county. The results display additional details about the offender. Another very valuable capability is searching by address (street and zip code) and a buffer radius distance around that address. The address search returns a map of all sex offenders' addresses within the selected buffer distance.

Wyoming Drug Free Youth Groups Study

Trena T. Anastasia
Assistant Research Scientist
Criminal Justice Research Center
Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center

The Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center researched five successful drug free youth groups selected by the Wyoming Department of Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Division. The primary goal of the study was to identify common elements and/or critical factors to group success. Therefore, background literature was reviewed related to peer support theories, evidence-based intervention, and prevention theories and philosophies in advance of protocol development.

A team of two researchers gathered five types of qualitative data at each site: 1) interviews with one or two adult stakeholders, 2) interviews with one or two youth leaders, 3) a focus group with participating youth, 4) an observational tour of related facilities, and 5) program documents for content analysis. A qualitative analysis of these data revealed that stakeholders and participants overall report nine factors as critical to group success and sustainability. While each factor may be implemented in a slightly different manner to work with and within each unique community, some version of these factors is critical to group success in each case reviewed. This table session will focus on the nine factors for success and sustainability of Drug Free Youth Groups; participants will be encouraged to share their experiences with peer support programming and qualitative evaluation.

Rethinking LEMAS

Brian Reaves
Supervisory Statistician
Joel Garner
Law Enforcement Statistics Unit
Bureau of Justice Statistics
U.S. Department of Justice

Since 1987, BJS has surveyed general purpose state and local law enforcement agencies every three years as part of the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) Program. This survey captures information about the size, resources, workload, equipment, and policies of police departments and sheriff's offices. This survey is conducted in conjunction with a census of all law enforcement agencies (every four years); surveys of specialized agencies, such as training academies, crime labs, and medical examiners; and occasional surveys of specialized police units, such as aviation units or gang units.

In conjunction with the redesign of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), the Law Enforcement Unit is considering alternative approaches to conducting the police-public contact survey, currently a supplement to the NCVS, and to conducting a survey of general purpose and special purpose law enforcement agencies. Among the design concerns being considered are the nature and timeliness of data being collected and geospatial links between special purpose and general purpose agencies. This table session will focus on the nature of the current program, a recent assessment of this program by the National Academy of Sciences, and a discussion of how BJS can improve the quality, timeliness, and usefulness of its law enforcement surveys.

Deaths in Custody Reporting

Christopher J. Mumola
Deaths in Custody Reporting Program
Andrea Burch
BJS Law Enforcement Statistics Unit
Bureau of Justice Statistics
U.S. Department of Justice

This table session will provide an update on the current status of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) collection of arrest-related death records (under the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program, or DCRP), and engage SAC staff and other participants in a discussion of future directions for the collection. In 2003, BJS began its collection of arrest-related death records in order to comply with the terms of a federal statute, but it soon became clear that the program addressed a vital data gap of great public interest. The DCRP collection was the first to shed light on the detailed characteristics of fatal arrests at a national level, including accidental deaths, intoxication deaths, and suicides by arrest subjects. The collection has outlasted the federal legislation that provided the initial impetus, with SACs serving as vital data providers at the state level. As attempts to reauthorize the Death in Custody Reporting Act have stalled in recent years, BJS is looking ahead to the future of this collection effort and inviting the input of SAC staff and other attendees. BJS presenters will discuss recent revisions to our questionnaires, and the assignment of new staff from its Law Enforcement Unit to the collection. BJS is also exploring possible alternatives to the current collection that may focus in more depth on large departments that regularly encounter arrest-related fatalities, and would welcome feedback on these ideas.

Redesign of National Crime Victimization Survey

Michael Rand
Victimization Statistics
Bureau of Justice Statistics
U.S. Department of Justice

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has initiated a program to reevaluate and redesign the methodology of the National Crime Victimization Survey towards restoring and improving its ability to measure the extent and characteristics of crime and its impact upon its victims. The primary goals of the project, which is in its early stages of research and evaluation, are to improve the precision and cost-efficiency of the survey to produce national-level estimates of the amount and characteristics of crime victimization and year-to-year changes in violent victimization rates; to enhance the survey's flexibility to facilitate the study of emerging issues; and to modify the structure of the design to permit subnational (i.e., state, city, or MSA) estimates of victimization. This table session will focus on the goals of the redesign, describe current and planned research, and review the timetable for the implementation of the redesigned survey.

Data Collection Strategies for Examining Intimate Partner Homicides

Shelley Penman
Data Coordinator
Research and Policy Analysis Division
Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security

The discussion at this table session will focus on the process and methodology behind the Massachusetts intimate partner homicide review conducted by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. We will cover initial review planning sessions, convening of stakeholders, survey design, troubleshooting, data analysis, publication, and dissemination. The facilitator will present a behind-the-scenes look at the development of this data collection initiative. Results of this review, and those of an additional intimate partner homicide analysis, will be discussed at the Research on Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Sexual Assault panel session.

BJA Performance Measurement System

Elizabeth Zwicker
Bureau of Justice Assistance

Offenders with Mental Disorders

Jennifer Eno Louden
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
University of Texas at El Paso

This table session will focus on offenders with serious mental disorders. Persons with serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression are dramatically overrepresented in the criminal justice system and are at disproportionately high risk for repeated returns to the system. Possible topics for discussion at this session include: developing policies for supervising offenders with mental disorder, best practices for line officers, and potential interventions to reduce recidivism for these offenders. The discussion will not be limited to these topics, however-anyone with an interest in offenders with mental disorder is welcome.

NIOSH/JRSA Collaboration - Past, Present, and Future

Dan Hartley
Workplace Violence Prevention Coordinator
Division of Safety Research
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

In the late 1990s, NIOSH partnered with JRSA and several SACs for a data collection effort related to workplace violence and robberies in convenience stores. In early 2008, NIOSH again contacted JRSA, this time to engage SACs in collecting data on workplace violence to pharmacists and other healthcare workers. Five SACs provided homicide, robbery, and assault (simple, aggravated, and sexual) data to NIOSH for its study. Both studies were successful largely because of the data collection skills that the SACs demonstrated in abstracting data from police reports. This table session will discuss these studies, and explore the possibilities for new workplace violence prevention efforts and/or the expansion of the pharmacy and healthcare worker study. NIOSH is also interested in discussing the use of police reports or other sources as a means of collecting workplace violence data on healthcare workers or other high-risk occupations.