BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Data Quality Guidelines

Correction Procedures

XV. Procedures to Seek Correction of BJS Statistics

A. The Right to Seek Correction of BJS Statistics

Because the core function of BJS is the production and dissemination of the highest possible quality of justice statistics, there is no limitation on who may seek the correction of BJS statistics. Any individual, unit of government at the Federal, State, local, and tribal levels, or private organization has the right to seek the correction of published BJS data if the complaining entity has a good faith and nonfrivolous basis to believe that BJS failed to comply with the BJS Data Quality Guidelines, the DOJ Information Quality Guidelines and OMB data quality guidelines. All complainants seeking correction of BJS data must comply with the data correction procedures outlined in Section (B)below. The purpose of the information complaint and appeal process is to deal with information quality matters, not to resolve underlying substantive policy or legal issues.

The OMB guidelines require Federal statistical agencies to provide redress for "affected persons" (67 F.R. 8459), and BJS has determined that the public's right to receive accurate statistics and the responsibility of BJS to provide them require BJS to define "affected persons" as broadly as possible.

The BJS data correction process outlined below applies to all BJS statistics covered by these guidelines without regard to the medium by which the statistics were disseminated. A complainant has the right to seek correction of any BJS data covered by these guidelines, whether the data are published in a paper BJS publication, included on a CD-ROM issued by BJS, included in a public use datasets made available by BJS, published on the BJS website, or directly disseminated by BJS in any other manner.

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B. Data Correction Procedures

A complainant may request a correction of BJS data in one of three ways. In accordance with the requirements set out below, a complainant may submit a data correction request by mail to the contact provided below in Section (D), by fax to the contact provided below in Section (D), and by electronic mail to:

A data correction request must:

  •  fully describe the perceived error,
  •  fully describe where the perceived error was identified (including where applicable, the publication title, date, page, web pages address (URL), graph, table, chart, column, row, etc.),
  •  explain why a correction is needed, including an explanation of how the perceived error fails to  comply with the data quality guidelines from DOJ, OMB, and BJS,
  •  explain how the complainant is affected by the perceived error,
  •  provide corrected information and supporting documentation,
  •  provide additional information and evidence as the complainant deems appropriate,
  •  provide the complainant's name, address, phone number, fax number, and/or e-mail address
  •  if the data correction request is via electronic mail, the subject line should read "DATA  CORRECTION REQUEST." If it is submitted by regular mail or fax, the envelope or fax cover  sheet should be clearly marked "DATA CORRECTION REQUEST."

The failure of a complainant to fully explain the nature of the complaint and provide contact information may cause significant delays for a BJS response. BJS will not attempt to contact the requestor to obtain additional information.

Frivolous data correction requests represent both a distraction to BJS staff and an inefficient use of Federal resources; therefore, only nonfrivolous data correction requests will be considered. A data correction request may be rejected by the BJS Director as frivolous under any of the following six circumstances:

  •  the request fails to establish a causal link between the perceived error and BJS' compliance with the BJS, DOJ, or OMB data quality guidelines
  •  the request is devoid of substantial merit on its face
  •  the request is unsupported by reasonable evidence
  •  the claim is of a nature that is not generally corrected by Federal statistical agencies
  •  the data to be corrected are stale, or
  •  the BJS Director has other good cause to reject the request.

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C. Recordkeeping

BJS staff will maintain a record of all data correction requests and will promptly notify the complainant that the data correction request was received and is undergoing an initial review process as described in Section (E) below. BJS will maintain a log that records the nature and date of the BJS response and follow-up actions taken, if any.

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D. Contact information

1. Data correction requests that are sent by mail must be addressed as follows:

Bureau of Justice Statistics
810 Seventh Street, NW
Washington, DC 20531 USA

2. Data correction requests that are sent by fax must feature "DATA CORRECTION REQUEST" written clearly on the cover sheet. They should be sent to BJS at (202) 307-5846.

3. Data correction requests that are sent by electronic mail must contain "DATA CORRECTION REQUEST" in the subject line and be addressed to:

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E. Initial Review Process

As stated in the DOJ Information Quality Guidelines, "the request for correction will be processed by the DOJ component that disseminated the information in question." In the initial review process, the BJS staff member to whom the data correction request is referred shall make determinations in good faith with respect to a submitted data correction request, including:

  •   the initial determination of whether a data correction request is frivolous or repetitive
  •   whether an individual is entitled to correction, and
  •   the appropriate level of correction. These decisions will be reviewed by a BJS manager.

BJS staff will make it a high priority to complete the initial review process within 60 calendar days from the transmittal of the BJS acknowledgment of the data correction request. If in an extraordinary circumstance the initial review process requires additional time, BJS staff will contact the complainant and provide an explanation and expected date of completion.

Promptly following the conclusion of the initial review process, BJS staff will notify the complainant in writing of the agency's determination, and provide the complainant with any necessary documentation. In addition, BJS staff will either inform the complainant about corrective actions that will be or have been undertaken by BJS or will provide the complainant with information on appealing the initial review.

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F. Appeal of the Initial Review

At the request of the complainant (and no other party), the BJS staff member's decision in the initial review may be appealed to the BJS Director. Any appeal of the initial review must be made within 35 calendar days of the BJS transmittal of a response to the complainant using the contact information provided above in Section (D). Any appeal that is received by BJS after the 35 calendar day deadline may be denied as untimely by the BJS Director.

The appeal should be clearly designated "APPEAL OF INITIAL REVIEW." Review of the staff member's decision by the BJS Director is final and will be based only upon the written materials provided by the parties.

In carrying out the provisions of this section to consider the complainant's appeal, the BJS Director:

  •  shall have access to all written materials initially provided to BJS by the complainant
  •  shall have access to all materials relied upon by the BJS staff member during the initial review,
  •  may request additional written materials from either party as necessary,
  •  may (if necessary) schedule a hearing with all parties if it is determined that a hearing is  required for the swift resolution of the matter, and
  •  shall make a final report available to the parties that contains the reasons for the final  resolution of the matter.

The initial review appeal process should normally be completed within 60 calendar days from the date the BJS Director is presented with the initial review materials. If in an extraordinary circumstance the appeal of the initial review process requires additional time, BJS staff will contact the complainant and provide an explanation and expected date of completion.


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