The Iowa Statistical Analysis Center recently completed two studies: Description and Post-Arrest Outcomes of South Central Iowa Drug Task Force Arrestees The South Central Iowa Drug Task Force (TF) is a multijurisdictional drug task force that serves 10 counties in Iowa. The area covered by the TF is largely rural and economically deprived, factors associated with methamphetamine production and abuse. The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of who was arrested by the TF, what happened to them as a result of their arrests, and what happened once they returned to the community. This study examined the characteristics of cases resulting from arrests made by the TF between January 1, 2001, and June 30, 2007 (n = 309). Long-term outcomes, including employment, substance abuse treatment, and recidivism (defined as any new arrest) were examined for the arrest cases that resulted in a conviction (n = 245). Offenders were tracked through March 31, 2010. The results showed that, as expected, the predominant drug involved in the TF cases was methamphetamine. While nearly 80% of TF arrests resulted in conviction, many charges were reduced. The majority (63%) participated in treatment after arrest, but only 53% successfully completed treatment. There was a delay in entrance to treatment, especially for those imprisoned rather than sent to community alternatives. Recidivism results showed that about half (47%) of those who were convicted were later arrested for a new criminal offense, and about half of those (49%) cases were rearrests for drug offenses. The most serious recidivism offenses tended to be less serious than the arresting offense.
2012 Iowa Board of Parole Risk Assessment Validation
The Iowa Board of Parole (IBOP) risk assessment instrument, designed by Dr. Daryl Fischer, has been used by the Iowa Board of parole with modifications since the 1980s, with the most recent validation having been completed in 2003. The tool attempts to predict an offender's likelihood of recidivism based on criminal history, taking into account the seriousness of the offense, the time between criminal events, and the number of convictions. The purpose of this study was to revalidate the instrument and determine the degree to which it predicted both general and violent recidivism. The study also compared the predictive abilities of the IBOP's risk instrument to the Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) to identify which, if either, instrument was good at predicting recidivism within the study cohort and for certain types of offenders. The study cohort included all offenders released from prison and work release in FY2007 who had an opportunity to recidivate and also had a valid IBOP risk score. Offender recidivism, including Iowa prison returns and new Iowa convictions, was tracked for 3.5 to 4.5 years. Similar to the results in the 2003 validation study, the IBOP risk instrument showed a moderate degree of predictive power on most measures of recidivism. Offenders with lower scores tended to have lower recidivism rates and those with higher scores had higher recidivism rates; however, the results were not high enough to indicate good prediction. Similarly, the LSI-R only moderately predicted for recidivism for this particular study cohort. Both instruments performed very poorly at predicting technical violations. Exploring ways to modify the instrument that would improve the tool's utility should be considered in the future.
The Kentucky SAC recently filled the Research Coordinator position by hiring Marjorie L. Stanek. Ms. Stanek will be responsible for completing the annual Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics in the Commonwealth, Hate Crime/ Hate Incidents in the Commonwealth, and the newly implemented Drug Overdose Death Report. In addition she will serve as Kentucky's contact for Deaths in Custody annual reporting. Prior to coming to the Statistical Analysis Center, Ms. Stanek was employed for six years at the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program, a regional victim service provider. She received a B.A. from James Madison University, and completed a master's degree in sociology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Health Promotion at the University of Kentucky and will complete the research component of her master's in public health from the same institution this year. Ms. Stanek's future projects include crafting evidence-based best practices for Kentucky's Drug Task Forces funded through the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, an outcome analysis of recent corrections reform legislation passed in 2011 as House Bill 463, and assistance in examining grant fund allocations throughout the state.
The South Carolina State Library announced the selection of the most notable 2011 South Carolina State Government Documents at a ceremony on May 7. The selection is announced annually in honor of Freedom of Information Day, March 16, the birthday of President James Madison, an early proponent of citizen access to government information. Winning documents were selected by a committee of state document depository librarians around the state and by staff at the South Carolina State Library, which reviewed all print and electronic documents received during 2010. The South Carolina SAC report, High Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Five Year Overview of Indicators of Illegal Drug Activity in South Carolina, was among the 11 documents selected to receive the award.
The West Virginia Office of Research and Strategic Planning (ORSP) is currently working on a JRSA-funded project utilizing West Virginia Incident-Based Reporting System (IBRS) data. The purpose of the project is to improve the accuracy of the state National Incident-Based Reporting System data crime counts to be used for state and county trend analyses. To address the accuracy of the West Virginia IBRS data, issues of data quality, classifying zeros and detecting anomalous reporting, imputation methods, and estimating values for missing data will be explored by this research. The analysis will also aim to offer guidance and support to state repositories interested in applying data quality measures and imputation methods to state IBRS data. Simulation using the West Virginia IBRS data will be used to investigate the impact of imputing for missing data on crime reporting. ORSP is continuing to use and expand the LS/CMI risk and needs assessment tool throughout the state. Current expansion efforts include developing policies and data collection devices for quality assurance measures, implementation of an online learning management system, and ongoing motivational interviewing instruction and curriculum development. The SAC is conducting numerous user trainings and has a user trainer workshop scheduled for June 2012.
Public Opinion about Alcohol Consumption and Law Enforcement in Wyoming
The Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center (WYSAC) recently completed the analysis and reporting on a large scale statewide telephone survey for the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police. The survey focused on public opinion about a wide range of issues related to alcohol consumption, and also included questions about the public's perception of Wyoming law enforcement officers and agencies. More than 4,600 telephone interviews were completed from a sample stratified by county, thus allowing for both statewide and county-level estimates.
Cost-Benefit Analysis of Wyoming's Drug Courts
WYSAC is currently conducting a study, funded by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Wyoming Department of Health, to compare both the costs and the effectiveness of Wyoming's Court Supervised Treatment programs (CST, commonly known as drug courts) with those of traditional sentencing outcomes for adults convicted of drug and/or property felonies and misdemeanors. The title of the study is Using Criminal History Records for a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Wyoming's Drug Courts Compared with Traditional Sentencing.
Data on costs and economic benefits are being generated from agency budget documents and payroll reports and a variety of other sources, both local and national. The comparative effectiveness of the two sentencing tracks will be measured through recidivism analysis. The cost-benefit analysis will be based on a model created by economist Michael Wilson, former director of the Oregon SAC. The overall goal is to help identify evidence-based policy mixes that are adequate at fighting/containing crime while remaining economically frugal in taxpayer investment.
Practicing Attorney's Assessments of Judicial Performance in Wyoming
Again this election year, WYSAC will be conducting the biennial Judicial Advisory Poll on behalf of the Wyoming State Bar. Members of the state bar who are currently practicing in the state will be invited to respond to a survey conducted by mail and on the Internet to give their assessments of the individual jurists before whom they have argued, at all levels from justices of the peace to the Chief Justice of the Wyoming Supreme Court. Summary results on each jurist will be provided to the state bar, and in turn to the media and the public, before the November elections. More detailed feedback will be provided to the individual judges.