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Data Sources: Crime and Incarceration

Key Resources

Crime/Criminal Justice

  • Bureau of Justice Statistics
  • Juvenile Justice Statistical Briefing Book -- via the Dept of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
  • Campus Security Statistics -- via the U.S. Department of Education
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • Uniform Crime Reports (1995 to present): Annual publication in which the FBI compiles volume and rate of crime offenses for the nation, the states, and individual agencies. This report also includes arrest, clearance, and law enforcement employee data.
  • National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) -- Preserves and distributes computerized crime and justice data from Federal agencies, state agencies, and investigator initiated research projects to users for secondary statistical analysis.
  • National Crime Victimization Survey -- The nation's primary source of information on criminal victimization. Each year, data are obtained from a nationally representative sample of 76,000 households comprising nearly 135,300 persons on the frequency, characteristics and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States.  It is a program of the Bureau of Justice Statistics and began in 1973.
  • National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) -- One of the largest criminal and juvenile justice libraries and databases in the world. The collection, with holdings from the early 1970s to the present, contains more than 180,000 publications, reports, articles, and audiovisual products from the United States and around the world. These resources include statistics, research findings, program descriptions, congressional hearing transcripts, and training materials.
  • Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics  -- Updates of tables and new data sources continually are received and prepared for presentation in the print edition.


Annual Survey of Jails
Collects intercensal estimates of the number of inmates in the nation's local jails and data on the relationship between jail populations and capacities.  

Census of Jails
Conducted every 5 years, detailing information on each facility, admissions and releases, court orders, programs that offer alternatives to incarceration, amount charged to hold an inmate for another jurisdiction, use of space and crowding, staffing, health care (including prevalence of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis), drug testing policies and practices, inmate work assignments, and education and counseling programs. 

Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities
onducted approximately every 5 years, providing detailed information on the types of inmates housed, facility age and type, security level, court orders, programs, health and safety conditions, confinement space, employment, and operating costs.  

Death in Custody Reporting Program
collects quarterly inmate death records from each of the nation's 50 state prison systems, 50 state juvenile correctional authorities, and 3,095 local jails. In addition, this program collects quarterly records of all deaths during the process of arrest by each of the nation's 17,784 state and local law enforcement agencies.  Statistical tables and publications are also available.

National Corrections Reporting Program
Collects data annually on prison admissions and releases and on parole entries and discharges in participating jurisdictions. Demographic information, conviction offenses, sentence length, minimum time to be served, credited jail time, type of admission, type of release, and time served are collected from individual prisoner records.  

National Prisoner Statistics
produces annual and semiannual national and state-level data on the numbers of prisoners in state and federal prison facilities.