Felony Cases in Large Urban Counties
The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties, 2006. The document contains data collected from a representative sample of felony cases filed in the nation’s 75 most populous counties during May 2006. To provide a complete overview of the processing of felony defendants from filing to disposition and sentencing, nonmurder cases are tracked for one year and murder cases are tracked for two years. Data collected include current arrest charges, demographic characteristics, prior arrests and convictions, criminal justice status at time of arrest, type of pretrial release or detention, bail amount, court appearance record, adjudication outcome, and conviction sentence received. This periodic report has been published biennially since 1990.
Highlights reveal that about a fourth of felony defendants were charged with a violent offense in 2006; 43 percent of felony defendants had at least one prior felony conviction; and about a third of released defendants committed some form of pretrial misconduct, including 18 percent who were rearrested for a new offense committed while they awaited disposition of their case. Part of the Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties Series, the publication (NCJ 228944) can be accessed at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=2193.
Foreclosed and Abandoned Properties
Addressing Foreclosed and Abandoned Properties, a fact sheet sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, offers an array of ideas to address vacant and abandoned properties. The strategies in this guide, which have been culled from real-life approaches across the United States, are intended to assist law enforcement and government agencies seeking to prevent property abandonment and lessen problems, such as crime and increased demand for municipal services, when abandonment occurs. The document (NCJ 230184) can be accessed via the National Criminal Justice Reference Service’s website, http://www.ncjrs.
The Comprehensive Indian Resources for Community and Law Enforcement (CIRCLE) Project was a collaborative effort between several U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) agencies and three tribes—the Northern Cheyenne, the Oglala Sioux, and the Pueblo of Zuni—to improve criminal justice systems within these communities by reducing crime and increasing safety. The National Institute of Justice sponsored a 48-month participatory evaluation of the CIRCLE Project. All of the project stakeholders were deeply involved in the evaluation. Researchers worked closely with federal and tribal partners to learn how effective the CIRCLE Project was in improving tribal criminal justice systems and to what extent DOJ succeeded in helping the tribes.
Given the tribes’ diverse approaches toward the broad goals of reducing crime and improving safety, evaluators examined the accomplishments of each tribe individually and in significant detail. However, they did draw some general lessons from their specific findings.
First, addressing sustainability at the beginning helps tribes plan their changes according to projected long-term effects. In addition, tribal partners wanted the CIRCLE Project to support self-determination, including the freedom to shape tribal institutions and design changes tailored to the particular needs of their communities. Evaluators also recognized the great need in system reform for nation building and creating criminal justice processes that are culturally fitting. Finally, one of the most important lessons from the evaluation concerns the approach that agencies take to justice system enhancements in Indian Country. Local data gathering and an understanding of conditions specific to locale help to identify opportunities for action. While not all tribes are ready for system-level changes, this should not deter them from making targeted changes on a smaller scale. This more incremental course saves money, time, and effort and can lead to long-term success.
To read the full report (NCJ 221081), access the National Criminal Justice Reference Service’s website, http://www.ncjrs.gov.