« PreviousContinue »
The programs described above comprise most of the data collection efforts in the criminal justice area. Although a great deal of data are now collected there are many gaps which need to be addressed.
Crime data.-In the crime area we find that no data are routinely collected on white collar" crime and “victimless crime." Yet, white collar crimes such as consumer fraud are thought to cost the society hundreds of millions of dollars annually. White collar criminals prey on both the rich (such as embezzlement) and the poor (such as consumer fraud). A systematic study needs to be made to attempt to develop a methodology for assessing these nearly invisible crimes. The Comprehensive Crime Control Act gives the Federal Government the responsibility for identifying and quantifying crime problems so that adequate control procedures can be developed at the State and local level.
Given the level of national resources allocated to the suppression of victimless crime, it would be reasonable to assume that hard data exist concerning the incidence and prevalence of such activities. To be sure, we have some information, but not enough. Arrest statistics provide the most common surrogate for comprehensive data. But these sources shed no light on the characteristics of offenders, on the details of the offense nor on the volume of offenses.
Drug Abuse Data.-Because of public concern with the problem of drug abuse and the official reaction to public opinion on this matter, those responsible for drug abuse statistics should be dedicated to collecting the most valid and reliable data available. While this is a difficult goal to accomplish, we should not settle for data which at best are inadequate and are probably grossly misleading.
The DAWN program (Drug Abuse Warning Network) which collects information on drug-related emergency room visits, and medical examiner reports is essentially an information system designed to give early warning about drug abuse in specific areas. Although DAWN data are considered indicators of drug abuse, in the past DAWN data were used by some as if they were definitive statistics on the entire drug problem in the United States.
Positive steps were taken to eliminate this problem. A report containing only a limited number of indicators was designed as a joint effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Domestic Council (now the Domestic Policy Staff), and OMB's Office of Federal Drug Management. This new publication sought to eliminate invalid data and to place
computerized criminal history (CCH) program being developed by States in cooperation with the FBI. However, the slow and expensive (estimated to exceed $100 million) development of CCH has brought the continuation of the entire program into serious question. While there may be reservations about the continuation of the CCH program, very few debate the need for transaction type data to analyze the effectiveness of various criminal justice processes. It is not the purpose to assess the need for a CCH capability, however it does appear that the initial decision to link OBTS and CCH is no longer appropriate. LEAA therefore has taken the initial steps to decouple the two programs. This is a desirable step.
Management and Administrative Statistics.- The Management and Administrative Statistics (MAS) program, which is now the direct responsibility of the Statistical Analysis Centers, is designed to provide a mechanism for the States to examine their needs for general data describing their own system and to develop programs to provide those data.
The Organization of Directors of State Statistical Analysis Centers are attempting to develop a common set of MAS data requirements. At some future date, many of the LEAA programs could be modified to use State provided data rather than those collected by the Bureau of the Census.
The technical assistance part of the program is designed to provide local agencies with the knowhow to fully participate in the State program.
Federal Court Data (Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts).—The Administrative Office of the Courts prepares annual detailed information about the workloads and outcomes of actions in the Federal courts. This administrative system is the only systematic program which gives any insight into the workings of the Federal criminal justice system.
In addition to the programs described above, a number of agencies maintain data collection efforts which are designed to provide some information about crime or criminal justice. There are, for example, programs which collect data on drug users in order to develop estimates of the user population. Some of the programs of the National Center for Health Statistics, particularly vital statistics, provide some insight into injuries and causes of death, which have useful implications for analyzing crime.
*Crime and Its Impact, op.cit., p.132 ff.
scope of the resulting information, but also its utility and availability for cross-organizational planning purposes.
As an interim step, a partial program should be developed using FBI data on Federal offenders. These data contain information about the arrest, the offense, and the final disposition. Analyzed along with data from the Administrative Office of the Courts and data currently being developed by the FPS SENTRY system, the FBI criminal history information could provide about half of the data required on the Federal criminal justice process.
A Bureau of Justice Statistics
The Katzenbach Commission, reflecting the earlier concerns of the Wickersham Commission, called for the establishment of a National Criminal Justice Statistics Center. The Standards and Goals Commission assumed that such a center now existed within LEAA. An examination of the history of the statistics effort within LEAA; however, leads to the conclusion that such a comprehensive center has not been established.
other information in a perspective which will make it useful for and not mislead those responsible for dealing with the drug problem in the United States. Further steps are now being taken to improve the data collected through this system. A research effort currently underway should be able to report results by mid-1979.
More comprehensive data are still needed to assess the drug abuse problem. A study should be undertaken to determine whether or not drug usage data could be more effectively collected. This possibility should be explored by the agencies mentioned above as well as the National Center for Health Statistics of DHEW and the Bureau of Justice Statistics if established (see below).
Court statistics.-A comprehensive court statistics program needs to be established. Information on caseload by type of case, criminal, civil, traffic, and so forth, is essential at every level of government. In such a program caseload data should be coupled with resource information to provide a full picture. The courts themselves need data on the adjudication process in more detail than provided by OBTS. The development of standardized court information systems at the State level could provide the information needed for court management as well as the statistical information required for policy decisions. An excellent start has been made in this area with the LEAA sponsored development of the State Judicial Information System (SJIS). In this program, selected States developed a comprehensive system, which is now being implemented more broadly.
Federal Criminal Justice Data.-Another urgently needed new resource is a program to examine the Federal criminal justice process; a Federal OBTS. This would require that many Federal agencies, particularly the U.S. Attorney's Offices, be involved in a systematic effort. It is only the Federal prosecutor who has access to complete information from the point of arrest though adjudication. The Federal Prison System (FPS) and the United States Parole Commission would have to be included to extend the coverage from adjudication through correctional outcomes. Negotiation should be undertaken with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to secure their cooperation in this effort.
While existing data collection methods may adequately serve the administrative information needs of individual bureaus, these efforts, from a system-wide viewpoint, are fragmented. A centralized Bureau of Justice Statistics can act both to define and enforce standardized statistical practices (see below). Such an effort will improve not only the quality and
The appropriation for fiscal year 1970 provided funds for the establishment of a statistical effort within LEAA. Since that time the budget for statistics and information systems has grown from an initial $1 million in FY 70, to a high of $43 million in fiscal 1975. Subsequent to 1975 the finding has been very erratic with $34 million in 1976, $19 million in FY 77 and $23 million in FY 78. At the same time, the staff level for the National Criminal Justice Information and Statistics Service (NCJISS) has remained static at an extremely low level with only approximately 30 full-time permanent employees. This level of support is inconsistent with even minimal responsibility for such an important program.
As noted previously, there is little analytical capability for general-purpose statistics in LEAA or elsewhere in the Department of Justice. Although the National Institute for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice of LEAA has human resources, little has been done by the Institute to exploit the data collected by NCJISS. NCJISS itself has been provided no resources by the agency which would permit it to assume an in-house analytical function, although there has been an increase in the level of funding for out-of-house analytical activities.
Thus the most pressing need in criminal justice statistics is the establishment of a Bureau of Justice Statistics or a National Criminal Justice Statistics Center within the Department of Justice preferably under the immediate direction of the Attorney
or by requesting specific legislation. One avenue could be the reauthorization of the LEAA. However, if this route is selected no final action would occur for well over a year. In the meantime the Justice Department should establish the nucleus of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. This activity could be temporarily located within the Office for the Improvement of Criminal Justice. There is also no reason to delay the initiation of an effort to develop standards for the publication of statistics within the Department.
General or a Deputy Attorney General responsible for either criminal justice services or the criminal justice system. In order for such a Bureau to be successful, however, adequate resources will have to be provided. No simple transfer of personnel from existing activities to the new Bureau would be sufficient to perform the activities required. Even after adequate human resources are provided the Department of Justice will also have to provide support by requiring the various agencies within the Department to provide needed administrative data to the new Bureau in order to develop an effective Federal level justice statistics program.
The Bureau should immediately incorporate the statistical activities of various agencies within the Department of Justice, for example, the crime statistics of the FBI and LEAA. The perception of the crime problem and the resulting official response is warped by the separate publication of data on crimes known to the police (UCR) and crime reported by victims in a survey (Crime Panel). Separate publication should be discontinued and a joint publication developed by the central bureau. Such a joint publication should place the disparate estimates from these two sources in the proper perspective.
Summary of Recommendations 1. Statistical methods for estimating the local
incidence and prevalence of crime should be
developed. 2. LEAA should continue to expand ways to use
State produced data rather than data collected
nationally for administrative statistics. 3. Methods should be developed to assess white
collar and victimless crime. 4. A Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics should
be established within the Justice Department. 5. A Federal Offender Based Transaction
Statistics program should be established. 6. Methods should be developed to generate
comprehensive information on courts.
Steps To Be Taken A Bureau of Justice Statistics could be developed using either the authority of the Reorganization Act
Chapter 4. ECONOMIC ACCOUNTS-NATIONAL, REGIONAL,
The functions of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in the Department of Commerce are to prepare the economic accounts of the United States and to interpret economic developments in the light of these accounts and other information.
The accounts provide a quantitative view of the economic process in terms of the production, distribution, and use of the Nation's output. This picture is disciplined—it appears in the framework of an interrelated system of credits and debits—and realistic, in the sense that it focuses on the institutions and transactions that determine the working of the economy. The accounts are as follows:
The national income and product accounts, focusing on the gross national product (GNP), provide a bird's-eye view of the economic process. The wealth accounts show the business and other components of tangible national wealth. The balance of payments accounts give detail on U.S. transactions with foreign countries. The interindustry accounts show how the Nation's industries interact to produce GNP. The regional accounts provide detail on economic activity by region, State, metropolitan area, and county.
The accounts are supplemented by various tools for forecasting economic developments:
Surveys of the investment outlays and programs of
Most of BEA's work is published in its monthly magazine, Survey of Current Business. Other BEA publications are: Business Statistics a biennial supplement to the Survey; Business Conditions Digest, a monthly compendium of economic indicators; and Long Term Economic Growth, a periodic supplement
containing historical series pertinent to the study of economic growth. BEA Staff Papers report on BEA research that is more specialized or less wellestablished than that published in the Survey. For use within the Government, BEA prepares analyses bearing on the formulation of fiscal, monetary, and other economic policies.
The economic accounts are among the most important and widely used statistical outputs of the Federal Government. The accounts are used primarily in analyzing the current economic situation and in testing the economic relationships for projecting future economic activity and the economic impact of alternative Federal policies.
Major users include Federal policymakers such as the Council of Economic Advisers, Federal Reserve Board, Treasury Department, Council on Wage and Price Stability, Office of Management and Budget, and Department of Commerce, who use the national economic accounts to monitor the stability and growth patterns of the economy as a basis for fiscal, monetary, and wage-price policymaking. The Economics, Statistics, and Cooperatives Service in the Department of Agriculture uses the accounts in preparing projections of the demand for food and fibers. The Office of Policy Development and Research within the Department of Housing and Urban Development uses the accounts in analyzing and projecting the effect of the economy and Government policies on the housing market. The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Mines uses the accounts in preparing projections of the demand for mineral base materials. Within the Department of Labor the data are used in analyzing and projecting changes in the employment level, composition of the labor force and prices. The estimates of real gross national product originating in private or individual sectors are an input for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) series on output per hour (productivity) and the accounts serve as the framework for the BLS medium and long-term projections of U.S. economic growth. The Office of Management and Budget uses the accounts to analyze the effect of economic assumptions on Federal tax receipts, expenditures for transfer payments, etc., needed to derive the