National Survey of Indigent Defense Systems (NSIDS) State-Administered Data, 2013 (ICPSR 36831)

Published: Oct 2, 2017

Principal Investigator(s):
United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics

Version V1

NSIDS, 2013

The National Survey of Indigent Defense Systems (NSIDS) collected nationwide data in order to: (1) identify the number and characteristics of publicly financed indigent defense systems and agencies in the United States, (2) measure how legal services were provided to indigent criminal defendants in terms of caseloads, workloads, policies, and practices, and (3) describe the types of offenses handled by indigent defense system organizations. The study was initially designed to permit measurable statistical estimates at the national level for each region of the United States, for individual states, and for the 100 most populous counties, including the District of Columbia. However, due to resource and financial constraints, the 1999 Survey of Indigent Defense Systems (ICPSR 3081) was scaled back to collect indigent criminal defense data at the trial level for (1) the 100 most populous counties, (2) 197 counties outside the 100 most populous counties, and (3) states that entirely funded indigent criminal defense services.

The 2013 NSIDS was the first census of all state- and county-administered indigent defense systems. It was also the first collection of data focusing on criminal defense and civil, juvenile, and appellate representation. The NSIDS furthers the work of the 2007 Census of Public Defender Offices (CPDO) and the 1999 Survey of Indigent Defense Systems.

United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics. National Survey of Indigent Defense Systems (NSIDS) State-Administered Data, 2013. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-10-02.

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics


2012 -- 2013

2012 -- 2013

The NSIDS was designed to be a census of all indigent defense delivery methods. In 2013, this survey was sent to state-administered indigent defense systems in 28 states and the District of Columbia. The 22 states that were county-administered were collected separately from the state-administered collection.


State-administered indigent defense systems that handled felony cases, and included data on all of the other cases handled by that system including misdemeanors, juvenile, appellate, and civil cases. The universe did not include indigent defense provided in tribal or municipal court systems. County-administered indigent defense systems data were collected separately.

State-administered indigent defense system

census/enumeration data

survey data

The data provide information on the indigent system itself, including indigent system financial information, types of cases for which the indigent defense system provided representation, the number of cases the indigent system has closed by type, whether the system has guidelines regarding attorney workload, how the system handles attorney conflicts of interest, and whether the system uses an electronic Management Information System (MIS), and if so what information was available to attorneys via that system.

Information is also provided regarding the staff working within the system, including the full-time/part-time status, number, and types of personnel paid by the indigent defense system, how each system handles out of pocket expenses, whether performance reviews are conducted, the salary ranges for attorney positions within the system and how each system selects chief executives, including the term (if any), competitiveness, and rate of pay. Also addressed are which guidelines are used to determine if a client is indigent, and whether the indigent defense system has an advisory board or commission, who appoints members of the board/commission, and the authority the board/commission has. Variables also include information on Continuing Legal Education (CLE).



2017-10-02 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

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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.