2021 Montana Legislature

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house joint resolution NO. 31


By Request of the ****


A joint resolution of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the state of montana requesting an interim study of the collection and dissemination of criminal justice system data in montana.


WHEREAS, while many local, tribal, and county criminal justice system stakeholders collect data, Montana currently does not have a central data repository or clearinghouse for that data; and

WHEREAS, the lack of centralized, electronically stored data related to the system can hinder legislative and public oversight of the system and limit improvements to increase the effectiveness of criminal justice processes and interventions; and

WHEREAS, the 2017 Legislature enacted several bills that made changes to various parts of the criminal justice system, but tracking the effectiveness of those changes has been hindered by the lack of accurate, complete data; and

WHEREAS, improvements in data collection requirements and scope might allow the Legislature and the public to track criminal justice system outcomes from arrest to release from prison or supervision; and

WHEREAS, local criminal justice system data, including charging decisions, is difficult to obtain, but it can be crucial to understanding statewide justice system outcomes and making comparisons between jurisdictions; and

WHEREAS, although data, data quality, and the use of data to measure criminal justice system outcomes are often discussed in legislative hearings, these related topics have not yet been the focus of an interim study.


Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:

That the Legislative Council be requested to designate an appropriate interim committee or statutory committee, pursuant to section 5-5-217, MCA, or direct sufficient staff resources to study the collection and dissemination of criminal justice system data.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the study:

(1) inventory existing statutory requirements to collect data related to the criminal justice system;

(2) identify what criminal justice system data elements are currently collected and maintained by state and local governments;

(3) review how all data elements are being collected, maintained, or reported, including but not limited to the software programs or technologies used in the collection, maintenance, or reporting of the data;

(4) review national best practices related to the collection and accessibility of criminal justice system data and other states' use of data portals to provide public access to criminal justice system data;

(5) assess if the data collected or recommended to be collected on offenders and programs will provide criminal justice agencies, the Legislature, and the public adequate information to determine whether state resources are being used efficiently and effectively to achieve the state's correctional and sentencing policy;

(6) identify any gaps in the data or accessibility to the data for research purposes and for use by system stakeholders and policymakers; and

(7) recommend solutions to improve and fund the comprehensive and consistent collection, maintenance, analysis, and accessibility of criminal justice system data at the state and local levels.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the study involve input from state, tribal, and local criminal justice system stakeholders.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that if the study is assigned to staff, any findings or conclusions be presented to and reviewed by an appropriate committee designated by the Legislative Council.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all aspects of the study, including presentation and review requirements, be concluded prior to September 15, 2022.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the final results of the study, including any findings, conclusions, comments, or recommendations of the appropriate committee, be reported to the 68th Legislature.


Latest Version of HJ 31 (HJ0031.003)
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