Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,000,000)
The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center requests $1,000,000 in funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance to assist Departments of Corrections (DOC) across the United States to build data analyst capacities to engage in data-informed planning and decision-making, ultimately leading to improvements in the operations and safety of prisons nationally. The CSG Justice Center will establish standards for core competencies for DOC data analyst positions, train agency analysts and their leadership to meet those standards, and develop training, resources, and communities of practice (CoPs) to further implement the established standards and to encourage peer learning among analysts.
The ability to enhance DOC abilities to analyze their own data would yield important dividends, including using resources more efficiently and facilitating less over-crowding, improving access to programs and services, and greater safety in facilities. Moreover, the ability to access and analyze data would position DOCs to better evaluate and improve the effectiveness of their own programs and policies. The CSG Justice Center is seeking priority consideraton for advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities as we will develop standards for analysts to identify racial disparities and racial bias and to ensure equitable access to services and treatment in prisons.
The CSG Justice Center will establish a Correctional Research Leaders Advisory Council to guide project activities, facilitate a 50-state convening of DOC analysts and leadership with our partner, the Correctional Leaders Association (CLA), and provide technical assistance to analysts through self-guided training, peer-to-peer learning, resources, and by working directly with analysts and policymakers to build capacity to better use data to inform planning and program management. We are uniquely qualified to lead this project as we have worked in more than 30 states to collect, link, and analyze millions of data elements and worked hand-in-hand with policymakers and DOC analysts to understand and improve their data and to deliver data-drive recommendations for changes to policy and practice. This experience allowed the CSG Justice Center to develop a deep understanding of the inner workings of DOCs, their data and data systems, and the challenges they face.
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