The Maine Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) informs policy development and improvement of practice in Maine’s criminal and juvenile justice systems.
A partnership between the USM Muskie School of Public Service and the Maine Department of Corrections, SAC collaborates with numerous community-based and governmental agencies. SAC conducts applied research, evaluates programs and new initiatives, and provides technical assistance, consultation and organizational development services. SAC is funded by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and guided by a statewide advisory group.
SAC strives to inform the policy and practice of criminal and juvenile justice by providing research, analysis, training and technical assistance to help governmental agencies and community-based non-profits build capacity, use data to inform decision-making and improve their performance. Center staff strives to fully understand and be able to describe the context of criminal and juvenile justice policy and practice, including the effects of politics, government, the media, public perspectives about the purpose of criminal justice – e.g. social service (needs based justice) and traditional (legal) models in applied criminal research sometimes come into conflict.
History of the Maine Statistical Analysis Center
In 1972, the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) began providing limited funds to states to operate state statistical analysis centers. The purpose of each state SAC is to enhance the capacity to address criminal justice issues through applied research and data to estimate the implications and impacts of legislative and policy changes. The quantitative focus of the SAC program reflects the current government emphasis on quantifiable data for criminal justice system improvement.
In 1999, pursuant to an Executive Order issued by Maine’s Governor, the Maine Department of Corrections transferred the SAC to the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service. SAC activities are guided by an advisory group comprised of policy-level representatives of the Maine Department of Public Safety, Maine Department of Corrections, Maine Administrative Office of the Courts, and Maine Criminal Justice Commission. SAC themes of focus change every year.
Maine Department of Corrections
Since 1995, SAC and MDOC have collaborated through a state-university partnership to conduct recidivism research, evaluate adult and juvenile correctional programs, and provide technical assistance, training and organizational development services. In 1999, MDOC transferred the state statistical analysis center to the USM Muskie School of Public Service to ensure a non-partisan, research-based approach to providing justice data and statistical analyses to the state.
Bureau of Justice Statistics
The mission of the Bureau of Justice Statistics is to collect, analyze, publish, and disseminate information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government. These data are critical to Federal, State, and local policymakers in combating crime and ensuring that justice is both efficient and evenhanded.
Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG)
Since 1999, SAC has collaborated extensively with the JJAG to conduct studies related to various aspects of juvenile justice.
Maine Department of Public Safety (MDPS)
Since 1999, SAC has collaborated with MDPS to conduct studies involving Maine’s Incident-Based Reporting System and Maine’s Criminal History Record Information System (CHRIS). In 2007, SAC and MDPS collaborated on a successful proposal to the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA) to develop MJCP capacity to generate criminal history record information for drug and operating under the influence (OUI) offender profiles.
Justice Research & Statistics Association (JRSA)
JRSA is a nonprofit organization of state Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) directors, and other researchers and practitioners throughout government, academia, and criminal justice organizations. JRSA conducts and publishes policy-relevant research on justice issues, provides training and technical assistance, and maintains a clearinghouse of state criminal justice activities.
Orbis Partners, Inc.
Orbis Partners, Inc is a human services consulting group specializing in designing and implementing evidence based services for high risk client groups. Orbis assist their clients to generate and access new information and adapt new resources to their human service contexts. They help organizations build new capacities to better serve their clients and the public.
National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
NIJ is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice and is dedicated to researching crime control and justice issues. NIJ provides objective, independent, evidence-based knowledge and tools to meet the challenges of crime and justice, particularly at the State and local levels. The Institute actively solicits the views of criminal justice and other professionals and researchers to inform its search for the knowledge and tools to guide policy and practice.
We apply appropriate interdisciplinary theories, frameworks and evidence-based methods to conduct applied research and organizational development in criminal justice.
We develop experiential learning opportunities for students that enable them to contribute to the generation of knowledge about criminal and juvenile justice in Maine.
We inform, convene and engage policy makers, practitioners, non-profits, university colleagues, advocates and the public in discussion about implications of the research for policy and practice.
Focus of Scholarly Activities
SAC is devoted to a continuum of scholarly activities that emphasizes quality and improvement in the following three areas:
Generate written contributions to the knowledge base of justice in Maine, the region and the nation.
SAC routinely analyzes data, evaluates programs, and releases reports, which are posted on this website for broad access to the public. Program staff also routinely develop and release curricula and program evaluations to MDOC, the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, the Maine Department of Public Safety, and non-profit programs serving juvenile and adult offenders and youth at risk of offending.
Provide opportunities for students from USM’s undergraduate and graduate programs to apply skills in a learning environment.
SAC offers experiential learning opportunities for applied justice research. USM undergraduate Criminology, Social Work, and graduate Public Policy & Management students have conducted applied research under the guidance of SAC research staff. MJPC also collaborates with the University Of Maine School Of Law to offer an annual juvenile justice law and policy internship.
Create opportunities for discussion and “deliberative civic engagement” about justice policy and practice issues in Maine.
SAC often plays a convener role to help partners and stakeholders develop and pursue their own research agendas. Examples of this practice include:
- SAC staff initiates research by engaging with multiple stakeholders to generate new data sources and relevant information – e.g. a new comprehensive baseline portrait of criminal victimization in Maine.
- SAC staff routinely analyzes disparate sources of justice data to help address or answer policy questions of stakeholders.
As policy and practice solutions emerge from correctional research and other research sources, SAC will use various methods to encourage and facilitate opportunities for Maine’s justice stakeholders and citizens to come together to discuss and address critical criminal and juvenile justice issues.