BJS/JRSA 2010 National Conference - October 28-29, 2010 in Portland, Maine
  Table Sessions

1. Data from VAWA-Funded Programs - What Do You Know?

Karen Monahan
Research Associate, Muskie School of Public Service
University of Southern Maine.

The seventeen programs funded under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and administered by the Office on Violence against Women (OVW) report significant amounts of quantitative and qualitative data reflecting their VAWA-funded activities. The data include a broad range of victim services, victim demographics, criminal justice activities and outcomes, professionals trained and students and community members educated, policies developed, and systems coordination and technical assistance activities. These grantees also provide in-depth, descriptive narrative data on the effectiveness of their VAWA-funded activities and on the remaining areas of need in their states, territories, and communities. This information is analyzed by Muskie School staff and is presented in mandated Reports to Congress and other formats. Discussion will focus on how these data are collected and reported, where they can be found, what they can and cannot tell us, and how they have been, or could be, used to make meaningful policy.

2. Evaluating the Impact of Drug Law Reform in New York State

Leslie Kellam
Bureau Chief, Research and Evaluation Unit
Office of Justice Research and Performance
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

New York's 2009 Drug Law Reform eliminated mandatory prison sentences for many drug offenses and expanded judicial discretion to offer drug court alternatives to certain addicted, nonviolent offenders. In order to fully assess the impact of the new laws, criminal justice and treatment agencies collaborated to assemble data from widespread sources, including state and local criminal justice agencies, the courts, District Attorneys' offices, and treatment agencies. In addition to the monitoring of aggregate information, a case-level database with merged crime and treatment data is being developed. New York has worked to overcome a number of obstacles, including confidentiality issues surrounding the sharing of treatment data; difficulties in identifying people and crime cases across data systems; variations in time lags for valid data; and differing definitions, paradigms, and operational frameworks. We would like to share New York's challenges and successes and hear about the experiences of other jurisdictions in developing shared data systems.

3. They're Just Not Into You: Policymakers, Researchers, and Love Connections

Michael Connelly
Administrator, Evaluation & Analysis
Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

In the face of continuing fiscal and operational difficulties, the need for research and analysis in criminal justice policymaking appears more urgent than ever. Although some progress toward linkage has been made, the marriage of policymaking and research remains less than intimate. This session will discuss three general reasons for that lack of genuine and lasting commitment: "It's Not You, It's Them," "It's Not You, It's Their 'Others'," and "It's Not You, It's . . . No, Actually, It IS You." From this consideration of the obstructions associated with policymakers, stakeholders, and researchers, the session will generate possible ways to improve the acceptance and use of research in criminal justice policymaking.

4. SACs and Human Subject Protection - Curbing Your Enthusiasm

Rob McManus
Statistical Analysis Center Director, Office of Justice Programs
South Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Protecting the rights and well-being of human subjects in the course of conducting research is a serious ethical and legal concern, and the involvement of human subjects increasingly requires review by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). While we all share this concern, addressing it raises serious questions for Statistical Analysis Centers. What defines an activity as research and who can decide? When does research need to be reviewed? Who can approve human subject research? How do I go about getting a research proposal approved? What additional complications will IRB review add to my workday? This table session will review and discuss practical issues related to ensuring human subject protection, including the steps required to put an IRB together, strategies for developing an IRB proposal, and what is involved in undergoing an IRB review. Data confidentiality and related issues will also be discussed.

5. Linking MI and General (Relationship) Factors to Recidivism

Brad Bogue
Director, J-SAT
Boulder, Colorado.

Since Ted Palmer's work in the 1960s and 1970s, there has been a consistent thread of anecdotal and clinical evidence that relationship factors influence correctional outcomes. Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a well-specified evidence-based practice intervention that epitomizes relationship and general factor principles in psychology, yet to date there is little research and even less evidence that MI has an effect on recidivism. This table session will explore not only what some challenges confronting recidivism outcome research related to MI might be, but why finding solutions to this line of research should be a high priority in corrections research.

6. BJS's Efforts in Measuring Correctional Health and Healthcare

Laura Maruschak
Statistician, Bureau of Justice Statistics
U.S. Department of Justice.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has routinely collected correctional health and healthcare data and has documented the high prevalence of medical problems, chronic disease, mental illness, and substance abuse and dependence among prisoners and jail inmates nationwide, as well as measured treatment and described mortality. However, BJS has not captured detailed data on the infrastructure of healthcare, the capacity to deliver health services, and the mechanisms used to deliver these services. In an effort to augment and improve our current collections, we are redesigning existing and designing new data collections. Because of their interest in expanding the focus of their National Health Care Surveys to institutional populations, the National Center for Health Statistics is partnering with BJS to design and implement a new administrative data collection, the National Survey of Prison Healthcare (NSPH). This table session discussion will serve to report on the correctional health and healthcare data that BJS has collected in the past and solicit ideas for the development and administration of the NSPH, as well as other data collections that BJS will undertake.

7. Using Data from the U.S. Department of Education to Gauge the Nature and Extent of Reported Crime on College Campuses

Erica Hughes
Research Analyst, Research and Analysis Unit
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

College administrators and campus law enforcement must take threats of extreme violence seriously. To that end, it is important to determine the nature and extent of all crime on college campuses, not just the rare emergency events. Beginning in 1992, college administrators at all Title IV colleges began to submit crime data annually to the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, in order to comply with the Jeanne Clery Act. These data were made public beginning in 2001. They represent the most comprehensive view of criminal incidents reported at four-year and two-year colleges across the United States. Data are collected on reported violent and property offenses as well as arrests and referrals for in-school disciplinary action for weapon, drug, and alcohol violations. Additionally, valuable information on the location of the incident is also reported (on university-controlled or public property, and for a subset of incidents that occurred in residence halls).

8. NICS Improvement Amendments Act

Shauna Strickland
Senior Court Research Analyst
National Center for State Courts


Becki Goggins
Uniform Crime Reporting Division/Statistical Analysis Center
Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center.

Enacted in the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting tragedy, the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (NIAA) seeks to address apparent gaps in the reporting of records prohibiting gun ownership from state and local agencies to the federal criminal databases. To achieve this goal, the NIAA requires state criminal record repositories, state court systems, and other potential original record holders to supply reasonable estimates of the number of firearms-prohibiting records that they have in seven different disqualifying categories: felony convictions; active indictments/information/ verified complaints; active wants/warrants; unlawful drug use records; mental health adjudications or commitments; protection or restraining orders; and convictions for potential misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. The Bureau of Justice Statistics, tasked with developing a percentage representing the degree of completeness of the records currently being reported to the FBI, contracted with the National Center for State Courts and SEARCH Group, Inc. to determine the reasonableness of the estimates provided by these state entities. This table session will discuss both the NIAA survey and the results of the analysis of the survey's first year of data.

9. Scheduled Prescription Drug Distribution in Wyoming: Analysis of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Steve Butler
Research Scientist, Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center
University of Wyoming.

The Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center studied statewide prescribing patterns of Schedule II and higher drugs as recorded through the Wyoming Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). PDMPs are databases that contain prescribing information on drugs having high potential for abuse, such as opioids, sedative/hypnotics, anxiety-reducing drugs, and stimulants, among others. The Office of National Drug Control Policy warns that "prescription drugs account for the second most commonly abused category of drugs . . . ahead of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and other drugs." The PDMP data include nearly 4 million prescriptions filled for 477,515 unique Wyoming persons during the period 2004-2009; almost one third of the total Wyoming population in each year of the study filled at least one prescription for a scheduled drug. By a broad margin, the most prescribed scheduled drugs were opioid analgesics-opioids alone accounted for over half of all prescriptions in the PDMP each year. Substantial differences were found in per capita prescriptions at the county level, with one Wyoming county in 2009 filling more than 3.5 times the number of prescriptions for opioid analgesics (per 1,000 population) than the county with the lowest rate. Zolpidem (a sleep aid drug sold under the trade name Ambien and others) and alprazolam (Xanax and others) were second and third, behind opioid analgesics, in percentage of all prescriptions filled. The average per prescription tablet quantity for zolpidem increased by 48% from 2004 to 2009, as did the average per prescription days of supply. Overall, during the period from 2005 to 2009, opioid analgesic prescriptions per 1,000 population statewide were up 21%, sedative/hypnotics up 37%, and anxiolytic drugs up 33%. This table session will focus on prescribing patterns over time, and variation in per capita prescribing patterns by county/city.

10. Collaborating with All Facets of the Justice System to Reduce Suicide

Trena T. Anastasia
Research Scientist, Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center
University of Wyoming.

When the potential to stave off a suicide exists, we each wish we knew what to do, and often second-guess whether we could have known and/or could have done something to help. The Wyoming Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative, as part of the Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Act, is working with all facets of the justice and health systems to be more responsive to the needs of those experiencing suicidal ideation. While the initiative is broad and encompasses a variety of evidence-based strategies, a three-pronged approach for collaborating with first responders, including law enforcement, to reduce completions is fundamental. First law enforcement, corrections, legal aid, coroners, mental health practitioners, emergency responders, educators, and others are brought to the table as part of a coalition to identify statewide needs and coordinated goals. Second, we are beginning the difficult work with all parties to develop a glossary of terms, so no matter the responder, the language used to describe the degree of ideation is transferable among agencies. Third, we are seeking to train first responders in understanding the signs of suicide, and basic skills for de-escalation, referral, and follow-up. This common goal, to reduce suicide, is also serving to strengthen ties between agencies in a variety of unforeseen ways. This table session will discuss reduction strategies and encourage brainstorming for additional ideas about how law enforcement and other justice personnel might help reduce suicide.

11. National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

Tim Bynum
Professor/Director, Michigan Justice Statistics Center
School of Criminal Justice
Michigan State University
Director, National Archive of Criminal Justice Data.

Founded in 1978 as a division of the Inter-university Consortium on Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan, the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) facilitates and encourages criminal justice research through the preservation and sharing of data and through training in analysis of crime and justice data. NACJD is home to over 1,500 data collections that are available to researchers for conducting secondary analysis. These data are from research studies and data collection series sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). In addition, summer data analysis workshops sponsored by each of these agencies provide advanced training and substantive knowledge regarding specific data collections, data analysis techniques, and topical issues in criminal justice.

12. SAC Innovations in the Development of Web-Based Data Tools

Mark Myrent
Statistical Analysis Center Director
Research and Analysis Unit
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

The Illinois Statistical Analysis Center has recently made available on its website a series of criminal justice data tools that provide users with interactive data access and the ability to create customized graphs and shaded maps. Utilizing InstantAtlas™ software, these tools allow state and local justice practitioners, program planners, researchers, and others to access county-level justice system, risk factors, and treatment indicators. Users are able to graph longitudinal trends in these indicators, and may choose methods of contextualizing their county statistics by comparing them to the state average, to other counties, or to groupings of counties with similar traits. There is also an advanced scatterplot feature that enables correlations of multiple indicators across counties. In this table session, the facilitator will demonstrate how the tools could be used in tandem to assess the need for a community-based prison alternative program.