Thursday, August 20, 2009

Federal Justice Statistics

U.S. attorneys opened matters for investigation against 133,935 suspects during 2006. The number of investigations initiated by U.S. attorneys decreased by 3% over 2005. Fifty-one percent were investigated for public-order offenses such as regulatory (4%); immigration (26%), and weapons (10%) offenses; more than a quarter (27%) were investigated for drug offenses; 19% for property offenses; and 4% for violent offenses such as murder, rape, assault, and robbery.
Of the 141,130 suspects in matters concluded during 2006, 79% were referred for prosecution either before a U.S. district court judge (59%) or a U.S. magistrate (20%). Nearly all (98%) of those investigated for immigration offenses were referred for prosecution or disposal by U.S. magistrate.

During 2006, more than a third (37%) of defendants charged with a federal offense were released following the initial court appearance, provided that any court-imposed conditions were satisfied.
Most (79%) of defendants released prior to trial in 2006 completed their pretrial release without violating the release conditions; 9% had their release revoked. Defendants charged with weapon or drug offenses were less likely to complete release without a violation (65% and 69%, respectively) than other defendants.

During 2006, criminal cases were commenced against 87,650 defendants in U.S. district court. Most (89%) were charged with a felony offense. Thirty-seven percent of felony defendants were charged with a drug offense; 38% of all defendants were charged with a public-order offense -- including 20% with an immigration offense and 11% with a weapons offense. Fifteen percent were charged with a property offense.
Cases were terminated against 88,094 defendants during 2006. Most (91%) defendants were convicted. Of the 79,904 defendants convicted, 76,778 (or 96%) pleaded guilty or no-contest

Of the 79,904 defendants convicted and sentenced during 2006, 80% were sentenced to a term of incarceration (either only or in conjunction with probation), 13% were sentenced to probation (either only or with incarceration), and 3% were sentenced to pay a fine alone.
The average prison sentence imposed during 2006 was 64 months. Defendants convicted of violent felonies (108 months), weapons felonies (88 months), and drug felonies (87 months) received the longest prison terms, on average.

Of the 15,246 appeals terminated during 2006, 77% were terminated on the merits of the case; 23% were procedural terminations by the courts.
Of the 11,769 appeals terminated on their merits, the appellate courts affirmed, or upheld, the district courts' decisions, at least in part, in 79% of the cases

Criminal Victimization

National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) is 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. The survey enables BJS to estimate the likelihood of victimization by rape, sexual assault, robbery, assault, theft, household burglary, and motor vehicle theft for the population as a whole as well as for segments of the population such as women, the elderly, members of various racial groups, city dwellers, or other groups. The NCVS provides the largest national forum for victims to describe the impact of crime and characteristics of violent offenders.Ongoing from 1973; Redesign 1992

Redesign of the National Crime Victimization Survey
About the redesign
The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) is one of two Justice Department measures of crime in the United States. A pioneering effort when it was begun in 1972, the survey was redesigned and the new methodology was systematically field tested and introduced starting in 1989. The first annual results from the redesigned survey were published for 1993.
Why redesign?
Criticism of the earlier survey's capacity to gather information about certain crimes, including sexual assaults and domestic violence, prompted numerous improvements.
Improved survey methodology improves the ability of people being interviewed to recall events.
Public attitudes toward victims have changed, permitting more direct questioning about sexual assaults.
What is the redesign?
An advisory panel of criminal justice policymakers, social scientists, victim advocates, and statisticians oversaw the work of a consortium of criminologists and social and survey scientists who conducted research on improved procedures.
New questions were added to accommodate heightened interest in certain types of victimizations. Improvements in technology and survey methods were incorporated in the redesign. The survey now includes improved questions and cues that aid victims in recalling victimizations. Survey interviewers now ask more explicit questions about sexual victimizations. Advocates have also encouraged victims to talk more openly about their experiences. Together, these changes substantially improve reporting for many types of personal and household crime.
What are the results of the redesign?
Victims are now reporting more types of crime incidents to the survey's interviewers. Previously undetected victimizations are being captured. For example, the survey changes have substantially increased the number of rapes and aggravated and simple assaults reported to interviewers. For the first time, other victimizations, such as non-rape sexual assault and unwanted or coerced sexual contact that involves a threat or attempt to harm, are also being measured.