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Virginia Pre-Trial Data Project

The Virginia State Crime Commission has been studying various aspects of the pre-trial process since 2016.  However, there was a significant lack of data readily available to answer many important questions related to the pre-trial process in the Commonwealth. As a result, the Virginia Pre-Trial Data Project (“Project”) was developed. The Project was an unprecedented, collaborative effort between numerous state and local agencies representing all three branches of government. The Project consisted of two phases: (i) developing a cohort of adult defendants charged with a criminal offense in Virginia during October 2017 (referred to as the “contact event”) and (ii) tracking various outcomes within that cohort. Data for the Project was obtained from multiple agencies.  The Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission (VCSC) acted as the central repository for the data provided by these agencies.

The VCSC spent a tremendous amount of time developing a singular dataset for analysis. The development of this dataset required numerous iterations of data cleaning, merging, and matching to ensure accuracy when linking information from each unique data system to each specific defendant in the Project cohort. This process was manually intensive and required meticulous attention to detail as Virginia does not have a uniform, statewide data system to conduct an automated merging of such information. Staff of the Virginia State Crime Commission worked closely with VCSC staff to finalize the variables included in this singular dataset.

A cohort of 22,986 adult defendants charged with a criminal offense during a one-month period (October 2017) was developed.  This cohort was not unique in terms of the number and types of defendants charged; therefore, the cohort was generalizable to and representative of any other month in Virginia. The cohort was tracked until final case disposition or December 31, 2018, whichever came first. The Project dataset contains over 700 variables for each of the 22,986 defendants in the cohort, such as demographics, pending charges, state or local probation status, nature of the October 2017 charge(s), bond type, release status, whether the defendant received pretrial services agency supervision, prior criminal history, risk level, and aggregate locality characteristics. Once compiled, the VCSC transferred the dataset to the Crime Commission for its ongoing study of Virginia's pre-trial process.

Source: Virginia State Crime Commission

 

Pursuant to House Bill 2110 and Senate Bill 1391 (2021 General Assembly, Special Session I),  the Crime Commission must provide the VCSC with the final dataset of all adults charged in October 2017 with a criminal offense punishable by confinement and the VCSC must make such statewide and locality-level data publicly available as an electronic dataset, excluding any personal and case identifying information, by October 1, 2021, and on an electronic interactive data dashboard tool by December 1, 2022. 

House Bill 2110   Senate Bill 1391 

 

Click below to download the publicly available dataset (54MB) for the October 2017 cohort*. If you are having trouble downloading the dataset, please email meredith.farrar-owens@vcsc.virginia.gov or call Sentencing Commission staff at 804.225.4398.

 

October 2017 Cohort Dataset* (54 MB) (Downloading may take a few seconds)

 

Pre-Trial Data Project: Data codebook

 

Virginia State Crime Commission’s final report on the Pre-Trial Data Project

 

Pre-Trial Data Project Dashboard

 

*Data continues to be reviewed, revised, and validated as necessary.  Based on a subsequent review of the data, it was found that the "Indicator_ConditionsToBeReleasedSecuredBond_19.2_123" variable needed to be modified. The value assignments of some defendants were modified to correctly reflect whether or not they met the criteria pursuant to Virginia Code § 19.2-123 (Released of accused on secured or unsecured bond or promise to appear; conditions of release). The updated data for this specific variable was posted on October 27, 2021.