Pilot Study of State and Federal Digital Evidence Laboratories, [United States], 2014 (ICPSR 37055)

Version Date: Oct 18, 2018 View help for published

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

Series:

https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR37055.v1

Version V1

The Pilot Study of State and Federal Digital Evidence Laboratories data collection contains data collected in 2015 as part of the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories (CPFFCL). The CPFFCL examined the forensic services provided by publicly funded crime labs across the nation and the resources devoted to completing the work.

To capture more information about an emerging forensic science discipline known as digital evidence, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) expanded the scope of the 2014 CPFFCL from previous data collections to include a separate pilot study of state and federal agencies that solely analyzed digital evidence in support of criminal investigations and prosecutions. These agencies obtained digital and multimedia evidence in various formats, including audio, video, and graphical images from computers, cell phones, cameras, and other electronic devices. The traditional CPFFCL definition of a crime lab limited the information collected about digital evidence since some agencies only handle this type of evidence and employ forensic experts with training in computer science or information technology as opposed to natural sciences such as chemistry and biology.

The census collected detailed information on laboratory staff, budgets, workloads, and backlogs in requests for forensic services. The census also provides data on lab accreditations, proficiency tests, and other quality assurances.

United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Pilot Study of State and Federal Digital Evidence Laboratories, [United States], 2014. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-10-18. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR37055.v1

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

State

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
2014
2015-04 -- 2015-09

This pilot study was conducted to expand the scope of information collected about this forensic science discipline and to help inform future data collections.

The CPFFCL population frame and questionnaire were developed by BJS and the Urban Institute with input from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors and researchers and practitioners in the forensic science field. In April 2015, the Urban Institute initiated the data collection on behalf of BJS through a web-based data collection interface and mailed questionnaire. Follow-up emails and phone calls were made to nonrespondents and labs that submitted incomplete questionnaires.

The CPFFCL-14 questionnaire was sent to 409 state, federal, and local publicly funded forensic crime labs that met the project definition of a crime lab.

As part of a separate pilot study, the CPFFCL-14 questionnaire was also sent to an additional 61 state and federal labs that solely analyzed digital evidence and were not among the 409 crime labs in the 2014 CPFFCL.

This data set includes the responses received from the 61 state and federal digital evidence labs in the pilot study. It also includes the responses received from 26 separate state and federal labs that were (1) among the 409 crime labs that met the traditional CPFFCL definition of a crime lab because they were part of a multi-disciplinary lab that also included natural science disciplines (e.g., biology or chemistry) and (2) reported analyzing digital evidence during 2014.

Cross-sectional

State and federal evidence laboratories operating in the United States in 2014.

crime laboratories

The Urban Institute

survey data

The CPFFCL-14 questionnaire was sent to 409 state, federal, and local publicly funded forensic crime labs that met the project definition of a crime lab. Of the 409 eligible crime labs that received the questionnaire, 360 (88 percent) provided responses to at least some of the items.

None

2018-10-18

2018-10-18 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.

Notes

  • 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.

NACJD logo

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.