Expenditure and Employment Data for the Criminal Justice System Resource Guide

Expenditure and Employment Data for the Criminal Justice System

These data collections present public expenditure and employment data pertaining to criminal justice activities in the United States. Information on employment, payroll, and expenditures is provided for police, courts, prosecutors' offices, and corrections agencies. Specific variables include identification of each government, number of full- and part-time employees, level of full- and part-time payroll, current expenditures, capital outlay, and intergovernmental expenditures. Two different data collections are included: the Criminal Justice Expenditure and Employment Extracts and the Criminal Justice Expenditure and Employment Survey. The CJEE Extracts have been extracted from the Census Bureau's Annual Government Finance Survey and Annual Survey of Public Employment since 1982. The CJEE Survey collected detailed annual data for 1971 to 1979, and for 1985, 1988, and 1990, but has been discontinued. The CJEE Extracts data are similar to but not statistically comparable to the CJEE Survey data.

Using the Resource Guide

The National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), a part of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan, designed this Resource Guide for World Wide Web users to learn about the Expenditure and Employment Data for the Criminal Justice System dataset and to connect to other capital punishment information sources.

With this guide, first time users or experienced analysts can:

File Structure

Expenditure and Employment Data for the Criminal Justice System is available from 1971 through the present from the ICPSR. Files available include CJEE Annual Files from 1971 through 1979; the CJEE Longitudinal File which includes data from 1971-1979, 1985 and 1988; CJEE Individual Units and Estimates File for 1985 and 1988; and CJEE Extracts Files, 1982 through the present, all of which are in logical record length (lrecl) format. SPSS and SAS data definition statements are provided, giving the format and other information for each variable in the lrecl data file. The lrecl data file is constructed with a single logical record for each case.

Data Limitations

Generally, these reflect the fact that the censuses from which this data set was extracted are not designed to obtain data on specific justice functions. The data are subject to possible inaccuracies in classification, response, and processing. Every effort was made to keep such errors to a minimum through care in examining, editing, and tabulating the data submitted by government officials. Follow-up procedures were used extensively to clarify inadequate and inconsistent survey returns.

Readers should be generally cautious in comparing governments. Differences in functional responsibilities from State to State and government to government can affect the comparability of expenditure and employment data. For example, some State governments directly administer certain activities that elsewhere are undertaken by local governments, with or without fiscal aid, and the same variation in the division of responsibilities exists for counties and cities. Numbers reported on the data file may not add to totals due to rounding.

Methodological Information

The Survey Period

Expenditure and employment data in this file cover reporting periods as follows:

  • Following a Census Bureau change in the reference year, employment data are for March of the collection year after 1995, and for October in all previous years.

  • Federal Government expenditure data are for the fiscal year, which begins on October 1 of the calendar year prior to the collection year, and ends September 30 of the collection year.

  • Some agencies operate on a different fiscal year basis from the rest of the parent government. In such instances, figures included are for the agency's fiscal year that ended within the parent government's regular fiscal year.

Data Collection

These data are based on a special compilation of data and sources available from the Census Bureau's censuses of governmental finances and employment. These censuses provide data on expenditure and employment, by function, of Federal, State, and local governments (counties, cities, townships, school districts, and special districts). The data collection procedures for government finance and employment are described below.

Governmental Finances: Federal Government financial data were obtained from "actual" data presented in The Budget of the United States for the Fiscal Year. Certain adjustments were made in Federal data to arrive at Census Bureau "expenditure" amounts. State finance statistics as well as those for large counties and cities were compiled by Census Bureau representatives from official reports and records, with the advice of State and local officers and employees. The figures were classified according to standard census categories for reporting large government finances, and were reviewed intensively. The remaining data were provided either by local officials in response to a mail survey using detailed questionnaires or from central data collection arrangements with State governments. For nonrespondent governmental units data were imputed and the record coded "iiii" in Field 7.

Public Employment: Federal Government civilian employment data were obtained from records maintained by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Statistics for State and local governments were obtained by a mail survey. State government data were based on a complete canvass of all State departments, agencies, and institutions. Questionnaires for local governments were generally sent to a local central reporting office, supplemented by special mailings to dependent agencies. For nonrespondent governmental units data were imputed and the record coded "iiii" in Field 8.

For the mail portion of these censuses, figures reported by government officials were generally accepted as correct. In some cases, varying interpretations of the instructions or deficiencies in governmental employment and fiscal records may make it difficult for officials to render complete and accurate reports for their governments. These difficulties are dealt with by (1) careful definition of terms and detailed instructions in difficult cases, (2) supplemental correspondence and telephone follow-up to officials, and (3) intensive examination of data collected, that is, verification of internal consistency and comparison with previous reports and other sources of data. Errors that may be introduced during processing (input preparation, etc.) are minimized through the use of extensive computer editing of the data at various stages of the processing system.

Additional Data Review

In addition to the routine edit procedures for the Census Bureau's annual surveys of government finances and employment, the data extracted from those programs for this file received additional examination. The local government expenditure and employment estimates were reviewed, potential problems investigated, and data revised, where necessary. Data for each of the States and large counties and cities displayed individually in BJS publications (counties over 1,000,000 population and cities over 500,000 population) were scrutinized and compared to the prior CJEE data. Where possible, data were adjusted to correct errors, reclassify activities, and narrow differences with the former CJEE survey series. Specific procedures included referring to alternate sources, estimating missing data, and refining data.

Data Not Collected Separately

Data were not collected separately for some variables for some types of governments. This is because the information was not available from source documents or the function was unusual for the size and type of government. In those instances, the data fields are blank. When the government had no expenditures or employment of the specified type, the field is zero. For specific justice functions the following are areas where data were not available or collected separately:

Expenditure data are not collected separately for "equipment only" for cities below 500,000 population and counties below 1,000,000. The equipment only data field for units below the population threshold for county and municipality are blank.

Expenditure data are not collected separately for correctional institutions run by governments below the State level. The correctional institution data field for units below the State level, balance of county, and municipality are blank. Data for correctional institutions run by counties and municipalities have been included in the total correction data field.

Employment data for Federal government part-time payroll are not available separately; Federal part-time payroll data are included in Federal full-time payroll data.

Imputation Procedures for Estimating Missing Data

For imputation purposes, responding units are grouped within each State by type of government and population, referred to below as "similar units." Each grouping must have at least 15 respondents and a response rate of at least 50%.

Using these groupings of "similar units" two imputation procedures are used to estimate missing data:

  1. For nonresponding governmental units that had previously responded, average growth rates are applied to the prior year imputed or reported data. For employment characteristics average growth rates for full-time and part-time total employees and total payroll, and for total part-time hours are computed using "similar units" that responded in the prior year and in the current year. Likewise, for finance characteristics, growth rates for detailed characteristics are calculated at an aggregate level and used for all details in that aggregate.

  2. For government units that had not responded in a prior year, a "similar unit" is randomly selected and a per capita adjustment is made to its data to account for population differences between the nonrespondent unit and the randomly selected unit.

Field 7 "Finance Year Collected" and Field 8 "Employment Year Collected" are coded "iiii" for units with imputed data.

Constructing State-Local Government Expenditure Totals
and Local Government Expenditure Totals

To avoid including duplicate intergovernmental expenditures in these totals, it is important to observe the following rules (which apply to expenditure data only):

Local Government Expenditure Total

The local government expenditure total is the sum of these records:
County Total
Municipal/Township Total

MINUS any amounts for intergovernmental expenditure to local governments, which are shown in these fields:



Record Location

Police protection









Thus, at the local level, total expenditure includes intergovernmental payments to the State only.

State-Local Government Expenditure Totals

The State-local government expenditure totals is the sum of these records:
State Government
County Total
Municipal/Township Total

MINUS all amounts for intergovernmental expenditures, which are shown in these fields:



Record Location

Police protection















Thus, at the State-local level, total expenditure is equal to direct expenditure (net of all intergovernmental expenditure).

Constructing Common Criminal Justice Variables

There are few totals on the file. The following guidelines address some of the more common criminal justice concepts that can be constructed using the data file.

Total police protection employees = full-time police employees + part-time police employees

Total police protection direct expenditure = current operation + capital outlay (where capital outlay = construction + equipment, land, and existing structures)

Total police protection expenditure = total police direct expenditure + police intergovernmental expenditure to State + police intergovernmental expenditure to locals.

Judicial-Legal and Corrections totals can be constructed in the same fashion.

Total justice expenditure/employment is the sum of police protection, judicial-legal, and corrections.

GIS Analysis of Expenditure and Employment Data

The Expenditure and Employment Data for the Criminal Justice System dataset contains FIPS County Codes as a geographical identifier. These data were not collected for the purpose of mapping or conducting spatial analysis, so users may have to do additional work to make these data compatible with their particular GIS software.

The GIS Resources page at the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data contains tutorials, analysis programs, and other resources, and the Mapping and Analysis for Public Safety (MAPS) Program of the National Institute of Justice has additional mapping tools.

Web Sites

Bureau of Justice Statistics: Expenditure and Employment Statistics


The link below will search the ICPSR citations database for citations of publications containing the phrase "justice expenditure." Users can create their own searches or browse the citations database through our Publications Bibliography.

Search for Justice Expenditure Publications