BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Publication Overview of the Relevance of the Bureau of Justice Statistics Data and Analyses to Understanding and Responding to Violent Crime

July 7, 1992    NCJ 138796

Bureau of Justice Statistics data show prison populations to be composed largely of offenders who have a current or past history of violence, or repeat offenders. About half of those in State prisons nationwide currently are serving time for a violent crime. An estimated 30 percent of all households in the United States had at least one member who had been victimized by crime in 1980. In 1990, estimates dropped to 23.7 percent of all households. Rape has been the only category of crime which has shown a systematic increase in time served since 1950. The number of persons under the care, custody, or control of Federal, State, or local correctional authorities has increased from about 3 million to 4.3 million persons. The recent data suggest increased logic and rationality in the use of and selection for prison than is at times attributed to the justice system. However, current levels of crime remain unacceptable and call for additional reforms and efficiencies. The Bureau of Justice has adopted an approach to combating violence which involves applying better information, analyses, and ideas to justice activities, actively assisting the States in developing criminal justice records systems, and cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to actively promote the development and use of the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

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