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Data Quality Issues Affecting Statistical Uses of Federal and State Criminal Records 2012 FCSM Statistical Policy Seminar, December 5, 2012 Gerard F. Ramker, Deputy Director U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics
Administrative/Operational Uses of Criminal History Records • Criminal Justice Uses • Police name checks • Charging decisions • Pre-trial release decisions – held in custody or released on recognizance • Sentencing • Correctional classification – housing assignments in jails/prisons • Public registries (sex offender) • Firearm purchases, licenses, permits, etc. • Non-Criminal Justice Uses • Pre-employment screening • Professional/Occupational licenses • Permits
Research & Statistical Uses of Criminal History Records • Studies of recidivism – pre-post comparisons of arrests, convictions, incarcerations • Program evaluation • State-level studies: • Legislative impact studies/models • Forecasting prison/jail populations
International Justice and Public Safety Network (Nlets) Interstate Identification Index State C State B FBI State Criminal History Record Repository Law Enforcement Agency Correctional Agency State A Prosecutor Court
BJS Record Improvement Efforts • Funded state efforts • to automate manual records. • to add state records to national system including various NCIC records AND criminal history records. • Improve the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, and availability of such records. • Have provided over $560 million to the states since 1995.
Prisoner Recidivism Study • Administrative data from BJS’s National Corrections Reporting Program provided by state departments of corrections. • Sample of 74,000 released prisoners representing more than 400,000 persons released in the 32 states during 2005.
BJS Memorandum of Understanding between BJS, the FBI, and Nlets. International Justice and Public Safety Network (Nlets) State A State C Interstate Identification Index FBI State B State D
Data Acquisition/Processing • Raw rap sheet data (the state’s electronic response) • Parsed into a database containing five segments • Identification • Demographic • Arrest • Court • Corrections • Standardized database created • BJS research database • Public-use research database
Application of DQ Assessment Tool • Focused on the BJS research database and the public-use file. • Files that derive in large measure from data that, in its native state: • Is highly unstructured. • Originates in different states guided by provisions of their separate criminal codes and codes of criminal procedure. • Ensuring that record parsing and standardization does not introduce errors. • Assessing/documenting other data quality issues
Application of DQ Tool (continued) • Secondary focus on broader data quality issues and improvement strategies relating to operational uses of these records. • “Fitness for operational use” • State profiles for record repositories which highlight record completeness issues • Discussion with: • Associations representing record repositories on multi-state issues • Advisory bodies on policy issues involving reporting and representation standards
Contact InformationDr. Gerard F. Ramker, Deputy DirectorBureau of Justice Statistics810 7th Street, N.W.Washington, DC 20531(202) 307-0765 - Gerard.Ramker@usdoj.gov