Online Program

Sorry to Bother You Again: Ensuring High Response Rates while Minimizing Respondent Burden
*Kim Aspinwall, RTI International 
Christopher S. Ellis, RTI International 
Timothy S. Flanigan, RTI International 
Erin K. Kennedy, RTI International 
Sarah Lycan, RTI International 
Brenna Muldavin, RTI International 
Margaret Noonan, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics 

Keywords: Survey methodology, data collection, mixed mode, nonresponse, data quality, jails, prisons

Establishment surveys can be challenging and may suffer in low response rates. However, the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP) sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics and conducted by RTI International (RTI), achieves a 95% agency-level response rate. The DCRP is a census of jail jurisdictions and state Departments of Corrections within the U.S. and collects annual data on inmate deaths while in custody and population statistics of jails (N=2,954). This presentation will review enhancements in the data collection protocol, including mode prompting and timing of prompts and how they have contributed to the success of the DCRP. It will also highlight case management techniques that aid in cultivating and maintaining rapport with our agency points of contact (POCs). This comprehensive and multipronged approach has resulted in both high response rates and high data quality, all the while attempting to avoid overtaxing and/or alienating agency POCs. The presentation will explore these tailored approaches, sometimes adaptively implemented, and the resultant data collection outcomes.