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Examining Indian Country Cases in the Federal Justice System

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2015
65 pages
Using nationwide administrative data collected by Federal justice agencies between fiscal years 2009-2011 and standardized by the Bureau of Justice Statistics Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP), this report presents data on Indian Country (IC) cases at various stages of the Federal criminal justice system, reviews the strengths and limitations of using the FJSP data to identify IC records, and tests an alternative method for identifying IC cases, even when the originating agency does not designate the cases as such.
The report indicates that few changes occurred in IC data collection and reporting since the release of the "Tribal Youth" report. Agency data systems generally do not include dedicated data fields or clear indicators for crimes that occurred in IC. This makes it difficult to identify IC cases across various agencies and stages. The Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA), on the other hand, has made improvements in IC data collection and reporting by distinguishing the data collected about IC cases. This report indicates that IC caseload increased from FY 2009 through 2011 for both juveniles and adults. The number of IC cases in the Federal system increased by 13-18 percent across all stages of the justice system during this period. On average, there were 2,045 IC suspects in criminal cases concluded by U.S. Attorneys each year from 2009 through2011. Over this period, the number of defendants increased from 1,940 to 2,220. During this same period, the annual number of IC juvenile offenders processed in the Federal system was relatively modest, totaling less tan 100 each year; however, this was an increase of 20-25 percent over the 3 years. The use of a customized linking method for identifying IC cases was an improvement. The report also notes changes in responding to crime in IC. 24 tables, 11 references, and appended discussions of data collection methods

Date Published: February 1, 2015