The Justice Research and Statistics Association is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the use of nonpartisan research and analysis to inform criminal and juvenile justice decisionmaking. We are comprised of a network of researchers and practitioners throughout government, academia, and the justice community. At the core of this network are the directors of the state Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs), which are units or agencies at the state government level that use information from all components of the criminal justice system to conduct objective analyses informing policy and practice at the state and local levels.
Our Vision and Mission
JRSA's vision is to be the premier professional organization for all state justice researchers and statistical analysis centers that promotes the use of statistical data and research to guide policy and practice, creating a more effective and responsive criminal justice system in the states.
It is the mission of the Justice Research and Statistics Association to promote the effective and efficient administration of criminal and juvenile justice through the objective analysis of data and the dissemination of research that informs policy and practice.
A fundamental purpose of the Association is to promote the use of empirical analysis in criminal justice policy decision making at the state level and, in furtherance of this, to promote the development and continued improvement of State Statistical Analysis Centers. Our values are based on the principles of integrity and professionalism as they pertain to the applied social sciences. We recognize peer review as a primary safeguard to insure integrity and professionalism. The selection of data, of sampling methods, and of presentation of findings all create the chance for bias to be introduced. The goal, therefore, for researchers and analysts, is to avoid bias to the extent possible, and to document known biases where they are introduced. For more information see our Code of Ethic.
JRSA is governed by its bylaws and a seven-member Executive Committee, including three officers and two delegates elected from among the State Statistical Analysis Center directors (a President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, and two voting delegates), one appointed (non-voting) delegate, and the Past President. All Executive Committee members, except for the appointed delegate, must be state or territorial Statistical Analysis Center Directors.
State Justice Statistics Program (SJS)
BJS has long supported the establishment and operation of Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs) in the states and territories to collect, analyze, and report statistics on crime and justice to Federal, state, and local levels of government, and to share state-level information nationally. The information produced by SACs and their involvement in criminal justice projects has been and will continue to be critical to local, state, and Federal criminal justice agencies and community organizations as they develop programs and policies related to crime, illegal drugs, victim services, and the administration of justice.
The State Justice Statistics Program (SJS) is designed to maintain and enhance each state's capacity to address criminal justice issues through the collection and analysis of data. The SJS Program provides limited funds to each state to coordinate statistical activities within the state, conduct research as needed to estimate impacts of legislative and policy changes, and serve a liaison role in assisting BJS to gather data from respondent agencies within their states.
Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs)
Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs) are units or agencies at the State government level that use operational, management, and research information from all components of the criminal justice system to conduct objective analyses of statewide and systemwide policy issues. SACs vary in their placement within the State government structures. Some are within a criminal justice or general State planning or coordinating agency; some are part of a governor's advisory staff; and others are located in a line agency such as the State police, attorney general's office, or department of corrections. There are several housed in universities and one SAC is a registered non-profit public benefit corporation. Currently, the majority of SACs (68%) are housed within their State Administering Agency (SAA), the location of SAAs varies from state to state. There are currently SACs in 51 states and territories.
The SACs perform a variety of activities including collecting, analyzing, and distributing criminal justice data, conducting policy-relevant research, and designing and implementing automated information systems. SACs play an important role in development of criminal and juvenile justice policy at the state and local levels. Their research provides the evidence that policymakers use to guide their decision-making. By furthering the use of evidence-based practices in their states', SACs promote the effective and efficient administration of criminal and juvenile justice. Contact information for all the SACs is available on the JRSA web site.
Each State Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) is led by a SAC Director who manages the day-to-day operations of the SAC. The SAC Director has extensive knowledge of research methodology and statistical analyses techniques, as well as the ability to design and conduct research studies, and produce and present findings in written and oral presentations. Additionally, the SAC Director is familiar with the factors, issues, and processes involved in crime and the criminal justice system. The SAC Director is able to communicate effectively and maintain sound working relationships with all levels of staff, employees from other agencies, and public officials. A degree, with major studies in mathematics/statistics, computer science, criminology or a related social sciences field with emphasis on research methodology, from an accredited college or university is required.
In 1968, the U.S. Congress passed the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act. Declaring that "crime is a local problem that demands local solutions," the legislation created the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) to provide funding to states for improving the criminal justice system.
The National Criminal Justice Information and Statistics Service (NCJISS) was established under LEAA to collect, evaluate, publish, and disseminate statistics and other information on law enforcement. The service began operating in 1970; in 1972, it announced the founding of the Comprehensive Data Systems (CDS) program. Under the CDS program states received federal funding for several purposes including: establishment of Statistical Analysis Centers as the nucleus for coordinating each state's criminal justice system and statistics activities. Later that year, SACs were established in seven states, and three existing statistical agencies were officially designated as Statistical Analysis Centers.
In 1974, the SACs created the Criminal Justice Statistics Association (CJSA) to promote the exchange of information among the SACs and enable them to work together toward common goals, and to serve as a liaison between the state agencies and Justice Department. By 1976, when the Association was incorporated as a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization, 34 states and the District of Columbia had Statistical Analysis Centers.
Upon termination of LEAA in 1980, 41 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had SACs. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), which was established in 1979, took over the Federal role in funding SAC research and statistics activities, although BJS funds are not designed to fully support the SACs. Many states had already begun to fully or partially fund their SACs, whose primary role is to collect, analyze, and disseminate policy-relevant data for state decision makers. BJS provides funds for the SACs under the State Justice Statistics Program.
In 1991, CJSA changed its name to the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA), better to reflect the expansion of roles over the years on the part of both the SACs and the Association. Read more about JRSA's history.
JRSA maintains an office in Washington, DC to carry out the activities of the association. The JRSA Executive Director, who serves at the pleasure of the Executive Committee, oversees the performance of all staff members.
Location and Hours:
720 7th Street NW, Third Floor, Washington, DC 20001.
© 1998-2016, Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA). All rights reserved.