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Improving Criminal Justice Statistics -- Needs and Prospects

NCJ Number
EuroCriminology Volume: 8-9 Dated: special issue (1995) Pages: 63-75
J-M Jehle
Date Published
An approach to statistical recording in the field of criminal justice is suggested that reduces multireporting and multirecording but, at the same time, enables a compatible system of partial statistics for criminal proceedings and sentence execution.
An absolute prerequisite of the approach is a computerized, homogeneous data set, which is completed according to stages in criminal proceedings and sentence execution. An important role is played by the public prosecution which disposes of all significant formal data from preliminary to discharge stages and which transmits these data to various statistical offices and Germany's Federal Central Register. Compared to the public prosecution, courts and prisons are only important with respect to their own special information needs. If official crime statistics can be improved, their validity for criminal law policymaking and criminological purposes will increase, and crime statistics will also become more transparent to the public. The author emphasizes that crime statistics need to be carefully interpreted. A model of Germany's statistical data recording system is included. 12 footnotes