The defendant-case, which is the standard unit of observation in all SAFs, is a combination of a defendant, which may be either a person or a corporation, and a matter or case. For example, if a single defendant is involved in three different criminal cases during a specified fiscal year, he or she appears three times (i.e., as three records) in a SAF. Similarly, if a single criminal case involves five defendantsfor example, a corporation and four personsthat case appears five times (i.e., as five records) in a SAF. The unit of observation for incarceration or community supervisionprobation, parole, or supervised releaseis an offender entering custody or supervision (in an incoming cohort) or an offender leaving custody or supervision (in a terminating cohort). For example, an offender convicted in two concurrent cases and committed once to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in a specified fiscal year appears in the SAF as one admission to a term of incarceration (i.e., as one record in the incoming BOP SAF). An offender who terminates probation twice in a fiscal year, such as with a violation and again after reinstatement, appears as two terminations of probation.
The source data provided to BJS are processed by the Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP). The processing creates recoded variables suitable for analysis, establishes offense categories that are common across SAFs, and removes information that could identify any individual defendant. The FJSP also maintains a linking file that allows records to be joined together across processing stages and over time so that individual defendant-cases may be followed through the federal criminal justice system. The processed SAFs and the linking file are archived at ICPSR and made available on a restricted-use basis. For fiscal years 19781994, the SAFs are archived at the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data as ICPSR Study Number 9296. The earliest fiscal year included in the linking file is 1994. BJS uses the SAFs to prepare publications that describe various aspects of federal criminal case processing.
The following table summarizes the data available from the FJSP.
|Fiscal years by website component|
|Stage||Provider||Cohort||Online Analysis||U.S. Criminal Code||Data Archive|
|Arrest||U.S. Marshals Service (USMS)||Arrests||1998-2020||n/a||1994-2018|
|Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)||Arrests||n/a||n/a||1994-2018|
|Prosecution||Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA)||Incoming Matters||1998-2020||n/a||1994-2018|
|Charges in Incoming Cases||n/a||n/a||1994-2018|
|Charges in Terminated Cases||n/a||n/a||1994-2018|
|Pretrial release||U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System||Beginning Pretrial Supervision||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Under Pretrial Supervision||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Ending Pretrial Supervision||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Adjudication||Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC)||Filed Cases||1998-2020||1994-2020||1994-2018|
|Sentencing||U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC)||Terminated Cases||1998-2020||n/a||1994-2018|
|Appeals||AOUSC, U.S. Courts of Appeals||Filed Cases||n/a||n/a||1994-2018|
|Corrections||Bureau of Prisons (BOP)||Prison Entries||1998-2020||n/a||1994-2018|
|Persons in Prison||1998-2020||n/a||1994-2018|
|U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System||Beginning Supervision||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Cases Under Supervision||n/a||n/a||n/a|
Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP)
Data available from the FJSP
Overview of Federal Criminal Case Processing