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Adult Criminal Justice Case Processing in Washington, DC

NCJ Number
P. Mitchell Downey; John Roman Ph.D.; Akiva Liberman Ph.D.
Date Published
February 2012
14 pages
This report describes adult criminal case processing and disposition in Washington, DC.
This report describes criminal case processing in Washington, DC, including the probability that an arrest for a particular crime leads to a conviction, and if there is a conviction, the type of sentence that results. Compared are the results for Washington, DC, to State Court Processing Statistics (SCPS), which report data on about 40 of the 75 largest urban courts in the United States. Findings show that the District follows national patterns with respect to most indicators of criminal justice case processing. Defendants in the District are slightly more likely to be charged with serious person crimes (homicide, sexual assault, felony assaults, and weapons violations) than are cases nationally, and slightly less likely to be charged with property crimes (burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft). Similarly, clearance rates are slightly higher for the most serious crimes (murder, rape) and lower for less serious crimes (motor vehicle theft, burglary). Washington, DC, statutes allow pretrial detention only in a few circumstances, and that is reflected in the low likelihood of pretrial detention. Defendants in the District are slightly more likely than those in other large urban counties to receive probation, and slightly less likely to be sentenced to jail, prison, or long prison sentences. Exhibits