National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

National Assessment Program Survey of Criminal Justice Personnel in the United States, 1986 (ICPSR 9923) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This survey probed the needs and problems facing local criminal justice practitioners. Within each sampled county, survey questionnaires were distributed to the police chief of the largest city, the sheriff, the jail administrator, the prosecutor, the chief trial court judge, the trial court administrator (where applicable), and probation and parole agency heads. Although the general topics covered in the questionnaires are similar, specific items are not repeated across the questionnaires, except for those given to the sheriffs and the police chiefs. The sheriffs surveyed were those with law enforcement responsibilities, so the questions asked of the police chiefs and the sheriffs were identical. The questionnaires were tailored to each group of respondents, and dealt with five general areas: (1) background characteristics, including staff size, budget totals, and facility age, (2) criminal justice system problems, (3) prison crowding, (4) personnel issues such as training needs and programs, and (5) operations and procedures including management, management information, and the specific operations in which the respondents were involved. In some cases, sets of question items were grouped into question batteries that dealt with specific topic areas (e.g., staff recruitment, judicial training, and number of personnel). For example, the Staff Recruitment battery items in the Probation and Parole Questionnaire asked respondents to use a 4 point scale to indicate the seriousness of each of the following problems: low salaries, poor image of corrections work, high entrance requirements, location of qualified staff, shortage of qualified minority applicants, and hiring freezes.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Adult Probation and Parole Agency Heads Data - Download All Files (0.9 MB)
Data:
DS2:  Trial Court Judges Data - Download All Files (0.8 MB)
Data:
DS3:  Police Data - Download All Files (0.9 MB)
Data:
DS4:  Sheriffs Data - Download All Files (0.8 MB)
Data:
DS5:  Jail Administrators Data - Download All Files (0.9 MB)
Data:
DS6:  Prosecutors Data - Download All Files (0.8 MB)
Data:
DS7:  Trial Court Administrators Data - Download All Files (0.8 MB)
Data:

Study Description

Citation

McEwen, J. Thomas, Barbara Webster, and Edward Connors. NATIONAL ASSESSMENT PROGRAM SURVEY OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE PERSONNEL IN THE UNITED STATES, 1986. Alexandria, VA: Institute for Law and Justice, Inc. [producer], 1986. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Politics and Social Research [distributor], 1993. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09923.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (85-IJ-CX-C006)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   budgets, criminal justice system, correctional facilities, courts, law enforcement agencies, personnel, personnel management, police departments, prison administration, prison overcrowding, training

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1986

Unit of Observation:   Agencies.

Universe:   County and city law enforcement agencies (police forces, courts, jails, and probation and parole offices) in the 50 states.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The data files in this collection contain free format data. In all of the files, the data values are separated with blanks and missing data is represented by "-1". The machine-readable documentation includes questionnaires corresponding to each of the data files. In some cases, the documentation does not specify value label codes. Users should proceed with due caution under the assumption that in the case of binary variables, 1 is equal to "yes" and 2 is equal to "no". Response data for open-ended question items are not included in the dataset.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   The Institute for Law and Justice conducted the 1986 National Assessment Program (NAP) survey to determine the needs and problems of local and state criminal justice practitioners. This information is used by the National Institute of Justice in planning its research and development. The data released in this collection constitute the second NAP survey. The first such survey was conducted in 1983. The questionnaires dealt with five general areas and were tailored to each of several groups of respondents: police chiefs, sheriffs, probation and parole agency heads, jail administrators, prosecutors, chief trial court judges, and trial court administrators.

Study Design:   This is a study of the problems and needs faced by law enforcement agencies. The basic unit of analysis is the agency itself. Surveys were completed by the head of a given agency. Agencies were selected on the basis of a somewhat stratified sampling design. Within each of 375 counties, the agencies in the largest city were selected for inclusion in the study.

Sample:   From a sample of 375 counties across the United States, 2,500 respondents were selected for inclusion in the assessment study. All 175 counties having a population greater than 250,000 were sampled with certainty. The remaining 200 counties were sampled from those having populations less than 250,000. Within each sampled county, the heads of law enforcement agencies were requested to complete questionnaires about their agencies' needs, problems, and resources. All of the sheriffs included in the sample had law enforcement responsibilities. Care should be taken in interpreting the responses: many of the question items pertain to agency needs and requirements, while others ask for the respondent's own opinions.

Data Source:

self-administered questionnaires

Description of Variables:   The questionnaires covered five broad categories: (1) background characteristics including staff size, budget totals, and facility age, (2) criminal justice system problems, (3) prison crowding, (4) personnel issues such as training needs and programs and (5) operations and procedures including management, management information, and the specific operations in which the respondents were involved. In most cases, variables were measured at the nominal or ordinal level. Question items were grouped into batteries which dealt with specific topic areas (e.g., staff recruitment, judicial training, number of personnel).

Response Rates:   Police chiefs completed 281 surveys for a return rate of 76 percent (well above the 64 percent return rate for all groups), and sheriffs completed 207 surveys for a return rate of 68 percent.

Presence of Common Scales:   None

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 9 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.
  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 8 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.

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