This is a report on a collaboration between Abt Associates and the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) for the purpose of reorienting the National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) to improve its usefulness and reliability for describing and analyzing information on prison populations.
This was done by transforming the NCRP from a year-by-year accounting of prison admissions (A records), releases (B records), and prison stocks (D records) in inmate prison terms. For offenders with multiple prison terms, the modification links them chronologically to assemble prison-term histories. Overall, for the period during which states have reported to the NCRP, the project constructed a comprehensive dataset of prison-term histories within states. In addition, this reorientation expanded data collection for offenders placed in post-confinement community supervision (PCCS) after being released from prison. Previously, the NCRP collected only parole release records. Since 2011, collection has been expanded to include all admissions to and releases from any type of PCCS, including but not limited to programs defined as parole supervision. Like prison records, these PCCS records have been transformed to assemble PCCS terms and PCCS term histories. With this documentation, NCRP data users will be able to understand, recreate, and combine prison and PCCS terms and term histories. Details are provided of the algorithm used to process, characterize, and validate terms of incarceration and supervision reported to the NCRP. This paper discusses how the proposed modifications identify and tentatively classify terms, how they adjust and refine those tentative terms, how the modified system uses D records to supplement the data file, and how it incorporates other adjustments into the final NCRP data revision.