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Comparing Case Processing Statistics

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 1998
2 pages
Publication Type
Case processing statistics maintained by Federal criminal justice agencies are not comparable due to the way in which agencies tally defendants and cases processed, define defendants processed, classify offenses committed, and classify dispositions and sentences imposed.
Differences in statistics can be reconciled by standardizing certain case processing concepts. The Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons have agreed the Bureau of Justice Statistics will reconcile case processing statistics. According to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, Federal attorneys initiate about 95 percent of criminal cases processed by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Each division of the DOJ maintains its own separate data collection system to track cases processed. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts collects data on caseloads and activities of the Federal judiciary, including district court judges, magistrate judges, and the probation and pretrial services system. The U.S. Sentencing Commission collects data on defendants convicted in Federal courts who were sentenced pursuant to provisions of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984. The Federal Bureau of Prisons collects data on Federal prisoners, and reported statistics include size and composition of the Federal prison population. Differences in data collection techniques used by these agencies are described, along with the Federal Justice Statistics Program initiated in 1982 to provide uniform case processing statistics across different stages of the Federal criminal justice system and to track individual defendants from stage of the system to another. 1 table
Date Created: June 28, 2018