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GIVING BACK

Olivia Steele, 2016 recipient of the Audrey J. Harris Summer Internship Award, interned at the Wisconsin Department of Justice in the Bureau of Justice Information and Analysis.

Majors: Legal Studies and Sociology with a Certificate in Criminal Justice

Goals: To become a police officer and earn a graduate degree in Criminology

This summer, I was given the opportunity to intern in the Wisconsin Department of Justice in the Bureau of Justice Information and Analysis. This unit encompasses Uniform Crime Reporting for the state of Wisconsin as well as various other crime data collection efforts for the state of Wisconsin. Furthermore, we compile, analyze, and disseminate data related to sexual assault kit testing, are involved in the development of Treatment Courts in the state of Wisconsin, and are working closely with law enforcement agencies to better collect information about crimes within their jurisdiction.

My experience at the DOJ-BJIA has been nothing short of incredible. Going into this experience, I had really not understood how pivotal good data really is to understanding crime and crime patterns. As an intern, I assisted law enforcement agencies with submitting Uniform Crime Reporting data to the FBI on a monthly basis. In addition, we conduct state-level analyses of crime data to use for policy suggestions in crime-dense areas of the state. I also was able to engage in and develop an understanding of other sides of the criminal justice system. For instance, we conducted a survey about their experiences with Narcan, a drug used to combat opioid overdose. These data were not strictly related to crime and arrests, but the survey results gave us insight that can definitely affect future policy. Another highlight in this experience was being able to go to a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council meeting, in which very prestigious Wisconsin criminal justice actors attended to discuss alternatives to incarceration with the use of our collected data.

I am so grateful to be among the recipients of the Audrey J. Harris Award. I would like to openly thank her family for the selfless gesture that made my experience possible. This experience is so unique and unmatched, and I hope to carry on the gift that you have given me to others as I further pursue my criminal justice career and education.