CIC seminar June 2018
Use of cross-sectoral data linkage to predict high-rate offenders in Western Australia
Presented by Associate Professor Anna Ferrante
Studies have repeatedly found that a small number of offenders account for a disproportionate amount of crime. High-rate, persistent offenders (so-called ‘chronic’ or ‘prolific’ offenders) have a major impact on local crime rates and public perceptions of safety, and place a substantial financial and social burden on communities. Reducing (ideally, preventing) high rates of offending is a highly desired criminal justice objective.
Using population-level administrative data, our study identifies ‘prolific’ offenders in WA and describes their demographic and crime profiles. The official criminal records of all offenders born in WA between 1980 and 1995 were linked to administrative records from health, education and child protection databases. Linked data on families (parents and siblings) were also included. Using this information, the study identified factors that distinguish between prolific and non-prolific offenders. The study then examined whether correlates of prolific offending were similar between a) male and female offenders, and b) Indigenous and non-Indigenous offenders. The results and implications of the study will be explained in more detail.
Anna Ferrante has a background in both criminology and record linkage with a degree in Pure Mathematics. Anna worked in IT as an applications programmer before gravitating toward academia and research.
As a Computer Programmer/Analyst, Anna specialised in record linkage (RL) and statistical applications. In the early 1990s, she used RL to establish a Road Injury Database for the School of Population Health, UWA. Following this, she set up data linkage infrastructure within the WA justice system – the Integrated Numerical Offender Identification System or INOIS (Ferrante, 1993). The development of INOIS enabled research into ‘criminal careers’, recidivism patterns, and the evaluation of criminal justice programmes.
As an academic, Anna has conducted criminological research and published papers on many issues including drugs and crime, driving and traffic related crime, Aboriginal justice issues, domestic violence, juvenile justice and criminal careers. Anna has co-authored two books – one of the measurement of domestic violence and the other on the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system.
In 2009 Anna was seconded to Curtin University to establish the Centre for Data Linkage (CDL). The CDL is part of the Population Health Research Network (PHRN) – an NCRIS funded initiative to establish data linkage capabilities across Australia. Currently Anna is the Deputy Head of the new Research and Data Analytics Hub located within the Faculty of Health Sciences at Curtin.