BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Home  | Data Collection Detail

Data Collection: National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC)
Status: Active
Frequency: As funding permits
Latest data available: 2008-09, 2012, and 2018

The National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC) is part of BJS's National Prison Rape Statistics Program, which gathers mandated data on the incidence and prevalence of sexual assault in juvenile facilities under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 as specified in PREA; P.L. 108-79. PREA requires a 10% sample of juvenile facilities to be listed by incidence of sexual assault. Data are collected directly from youth in a private setting using audio computer-assisted self-interview (ACASI) technology with a touchscreen laptop and an audio feed to maximize inmate confidentiality and minimize literacy issues.

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Data Experts

  • Amy Lauger, BJS Statistician (Email this expert)
  • Erica L. Smith, BJS Statistician (Email this expert)
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    Collection Period

    2008-09, 2012, and 2018

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    Questionnaires

    NSYC Facility Surveys
    2018 PDF (475K) | 2012 Multi Unit PDF (149K) | 2012 Single Unit PDF (128K)
    NSYC Main ACASI Instrument - Older Youth
    2018 PDF (2.2M) | 2012 PDF (282K) | 2008-09 PDF (427K)
    NSYC Main ACASI Instrument - Younger Youth
    2018 PDF (2.17M) | 2012 PDF (276K) | 2008-09 PDF (417K)
    NSYC-A Alternative ACASI Instrument
    2018 PDF (1.34M) | 2012 PDF (168K) | 2008-09 PDF (214K)
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    Methodology

    The NSYC consists of an ACASI in which youth, using a touchscreen, interact with a computerized questionnaire and follow audio instructions delivered via headphones. The NSYC used self-administered procedures to ensure the confidentiality of the reporting youth and to encourage fuller reporting of victimization. The survey made use of audio technology to provide assistance to youth with varying levels of literacy and language skills.

    Administrators in each state, county, and private facility determined the type of consent required for youth to participate. Youth who had reached the legal age of consent did not need permission from a parent or guardian. For youth under the legal age of consent, administrators in 129 facilities provided in loco parentis (ILP) consent. In 48 facilities, administrators provided parents with an opportunity to withhold consent; administrators in these facilities provided ILP consent for youth where the parent did not refuse consent (passive consent). In 150 facilities, administrators required that consent be obtained directly from the parents or guardians (PGC) of youth under the legal age of consent. In all facilities, youth also had to provide direct assent to participate in the interview.

    Five weeks before data collection, the NSYC-3 project team requested that administrators in ILP facilities provide a roster of all adjudicated youth assigned a bed. In PGC facilities and facilities that employed both PGC and ILP based on the age of the youth, the project team requested rosters 9 weeks prior to data collection. The initial rosters were updated to reflect any additional youth admitted or discharged before the first day of data collection. Youth were randomly sampled from the initial and updated rosters.

    Prior to data collection, field staff assessed the interviewing capacity at each facility. Capacity was based on the number of days, interviewing rooms, and available interviewers. In four large facilities, the youth were randomly subsampled so the number of sampled youth did not exceed interviewing capacity.

    The final NSYC-3 universe represented 12,750 adjudicated youth held in state-owned or -operated juvenile facilities or placed in locally or privately operated juvenile facilities that met the eligibility criteria for inclusion in the sample. After subsampling, the final sample of youth was 12,362. A total of 6,910 youth participated in the survey, with 6,211 youth completing the sexual-victimization survey and 699 completing an alternative survey on topics such as living conditions in the facility, mental health, drug and alcohol use, and education.

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    Publications & Products

    The following publications and products were generated by BJS using data from this collection.

    Sexual Victimization Reported by Youth in Juvenile Facilities, 2018 This report, the third in a series that began in 2008-2009, presents estimates of youth-on-youth sexual victimization and staff sexual misconduct in juvenile facilities, as reported by youth.
      Press release (Press Release 228K) | Summary (PDF 457K) | Full report (PDF 1.12M) | Data tables (Zip format 43K)
    Part of the PREA Publications Series

    PREA Data-Collection Activities, 2019 Describes activities during 2018 and 2019 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics to collect data and report on the incidence and effects of prison rape, as required by the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003.
      Full report (PDF 325K)
    Part of the PREA Data Collection Activities Series

    PREA Data Collection Activities, 2018 Describes activities during 2017 and 2018 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics to collect data and report on the incidence and effects of sexual victimization in correctional facilities, as required by the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) (P.L. 108-79). This report meets the PREA requirement to report on BJS's activities for the preceding calendar year by June 30 of each year.
      Full report (PDF 316K)
    Part of the PREA Data Collection Activities Series

    PREA Data Collection Activities, 2017 Describes the Bureau of Justice Statistics' (BJS) activities to collect data and report on the incidence and effects of sexual victimization in correctional facilities, as required by the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) (P.L. 108-79).
      Full report (PDF 316K) | ASCII file (20K)
    Part of the PREA Data Collection Activities Series

    Facility-level and Individual-level Correlates of Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities, 2012 This report examines facility impact on youth sexual victimization and also takes into account critical youth-level predictors.
      Full report (PDF 3M) | ASCII file (203K)
    Part of the PREA Data Collection Activities Series

    PREA Data Collection Activities, 2016 Describes the Bureau of Justice Statistics' (BJS) activities to collect data and report on the incidence and effects of sexual victimization in correctional facilities, as required by the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) (P.L. 108-79).
      Full report (PDF 424K) | ASCII file (19K)
    Part of the PREA Data Collection Activities Series

    PREA Data Collection Activities, 2015 The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA; P.L. 108-79) requires the Attorney General to submit to Congress, not later than June 30 of each year, a report on the activities of BJS for the preceding calendar year.
      Full report (PDF 348K) | ASCII file (17K)
    Part of the PREA Data Collection Activities Series

    PREA Data Collection Activities, 2014 The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-79) requires the Attorney General to submit to Congress, not later than June 30 of each year, a report on the activities of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) for the preceding calendar year.
      Full report (PDF 439K) | ASCII file (17K)
    Part of the PREA Data Collection Activities Series

    PREA Data Collection Activities, 2013 The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA; P.L. 108-79) requires the Attorney General to submit to Congress, not later than June 30 of each year, a report on the activities of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) for the preceding calendar year.
      Full report (PDF 466K) | ASCII file (17K)
    Part of the PREA Data Collection Activities Series

    Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2012 Presents data from the 2012 National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC), conducted in 326 juvenile confinement facilities between February and September 2012, with a sample of 8,707 adjudicated youth.
      Press Release | Full report (PDF 1.15M) | ASCII file (59K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format) | Supplemental Tables (Zip format 16K)
    Part of the PREA Data Collection Activities Series

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