BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Home  | About the Bureau of Justice Statistics
About the Bureau of Justice Statistics

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The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) -
         the United States' primary source for criminal justice statistics

BJS mission:
To collect, analyze, publish, and disseminate information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government. These data are critical to federal, state, and local policymakers in combating crime and ensuring that justice is both efficient and evenhanded.
Authorizing legislation:
The Bureau of Justice Statistics was first established on December 27, 1979 under the Justice Systems Improvement Act of 1979, Public Law 96-157 (the 1979 Amendment to the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, Public Law 90-351).

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is a component of the Office of Justice Programs in the U.S. Department of Justice.

BJS Statistical Principles and Practices

Bureau of Justice Statistics Strategic Plan
FY 2005-2008: Acrobat file (781K) | ASCII file (81K)
FY 2003-2004: Acrobat file (781K) | ASCII file (81K)

     Help for using BJS products

BJS organization chart

Forthcoming Publications

Evaluation of BJS Programs:
Ensuring the Quality, Credibility, and Relevance of U.S. Justice Statistics (2009)
Surveying Victims: Options for Conducting the National Crime Victimization Survey (2008)

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BJS statistical programs

List of BJS data series

This year BJS will:

  • Interview more than 135,000 citizens in about 76,000 households about any experiences they may have had as crime victims.
  • Describe characteristics and consequences of approximately 21 million criminal victimizations.
  • Analyze operations of some 50,000 agencies, offices, courts, and institutions that together comprise the justice system.
  • Count populations and conduct sample surveys among the 7.2 million adults who during an average day are subject to the care, custody, or control of federal, state, and local criminal justice authorities.
  • Maintain more than four dozen major data collection series from which it publishes and distributes reports nationwide.
  • Undertake special data collections and analyses to respond to programmatic, policy, and legislative needs of the Department, the Administration, Congress, and the criminal justice community.
  • Maintain a website and data archive that has up to 24,000 visitors a day, including scholars, students, policy-makers, the media, and others around the world.
  • Provide assistance to users in identifying sources of BJS information, interpreting statistical data from BJS series and data collections, and in understanding the methodologies of BJS surveys.

Data are published annually on:

  • Criminal victimization
  • Populations under correctional supervision
  • Federal criminal offenders and case processing

Periodic data series include:

  • Administration of law enforcement agencies and correctional facilities
  • Prosecutorial practices and policies
  • State court case processing
  • Felony convictions
  • Characteristics of correctional populations
  • Criminal justice expenditure and employment
  • Civil case processing in State courts
  • Special studies on other criminal justice topics

BJS data collection activities -

  • U.S. Bureau of the Census collects data for most BJS statistical series
  • BJS coordinates with other Department of Justice statistical programs, such as the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program and National Incident-Based Reporting System
  • the BJS Federal Justice Statistics Program collects data from other Federal agencies, including the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons

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BJS grant programs

BJS supports several funding programs including -

  • Criminal justice statistics programs
    • Data collection and processing
    • Statistical and methodological research

  • Assistance to state, local, and tribal governments
    • National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP
    • State Justice Statistics (SJS) Program for Statistical Analysis Centers
    • The NICS Act Record Improvement Programs for States and State Court Systems (NARIP)
For more information about these programs and how to apply, see Funding.

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Dissemination programs

In this section:

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), provides —

  • Copies of BJS reports and BJS mailing list information
  • Criminal justice statistics and data assistance from information specialists at NCJRS
  • Referrals to other sources of crime data

Toll-free access to BJS statistical information and reports - 800-851-3420

For information about ordering publications, see Publications on How to Find BJS products.

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National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD)

BJS archives data files, documents them, and makes them available through the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data.

Data files that are maintained by NACJD are available for downloading from the Internet at no charge. For information about contacting NACJD, see Datasets and Codebooks on How to Find BJS products.

The central mission of NACJD is to facilitate and encourage research in the field of criminal justice through the sharing of data resources. NACJD provides--

  • Computer-readable data for the quantitative study of crime and the criminal justice system
  • Technical assistance in selecting data collections and the computer hardware and software for analyzing data efficiently and effectively
  • Training in quantitative methods of social science research to facilitate secondary analysis of criminal justice data

NACJD routinely receives statistical data from four U.S. Department of Justice agencies:

  • Bureau of Justice Statistics
  • National Institute of Justice,
  • Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Individual scholars and researchers in the criminal justice field may also deposit data with NACJD, and interested individuals should contact staff for more information on this process.

Established in 1978, NACJD headquarters are located, along with the central staff of Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

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Federal Justice Statistics Resource Center (FJSRC)

The Federal Justice Statistics Resource Center maintains the Bureau of Justice Statistics Federal Justice Statistics Program database, which contains information about suspects and defendants processed in the Federal criminal justice system.

Currently, data are obtained from the -

  • U.S. Marshals Service
  • U.S. Attorneys
  • Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
  • U.S. Sentencing Commission
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons

At the FJSRC website, you can:

  • find out more about the BJS Federal Justice Statistics Program
  • Access a data dictionary that describes each element in the FJSP database
  • Query/search the FJSP database to quickly obtain customized statistics describing Federal offenses and offenders such as the number of defendants prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced in a given year
  • Download Federal criminal justice data sets for more in-depth analysis

Currently, the FJSRC and the web site are maintained by the Abt Associates through a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

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Infobase of State Activities and Research (ISAR)

The ISAR database, maintained by the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA), contains current information about the research, activities, and publications of the State Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs) which conduct research and analyze statistics concerning criminal justice issues of State interest.

ISAR is searchable by State, keyword, and date and includes over 4,000 research projects, publications, and other activities.

Publications & Presentations

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