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To better understand the impact of various programs and develop targeted strategies in the criminal justice system, the use of research evidence plays an important role. The results obtained from well-designed research study provide valuable information for exploring the impact of policies and programs as well as for making informed decisions about future interventions. The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) uses modern data science tools to maintain a rich and dynamic database that captures information on each person who has been convicted of a criminal offence in NSW since 1994. Statistical modelling can then be applied to extract actionable information that informs policy evaluation and effective criminal justice decision-making. We will look at a particular case-study, where recidivism rates were compared for offenders who received an intensive correction order versus those given short prison sentences. With careful modelling to properly account for selection bias, the analysis can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of intensive correction orders in reducing recidivism rates.
Dr Joanna Wang is a senior lecturer at School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, UTS. After finishing her PhD in Statistics at Sydney University, Joanna did a postdoctoral fellowship at UTS and the Sax Institute. She also worked as a research statistician at BOCSAR before joining UTS in 2019. Her research interests include time series modelling in observational studies, nonresponse in survey data and statistical methods for evaluating policy programs.
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