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National Prisoner Statistics Program (NPS) and National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP), 2015-2019

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $1,199,978)

The NPS and NCRP are BJS’s flagship data collections measuring the size and composition of state and federal prison populations on an annual basis. The two collections complement each other by obtaining aggregate and detailed individual-level information on prisoners, which is used to describe and compare the prison population over time.

The NPS collects aggregate counts of the male and female custody and jurisdictional prison populations as of December 31 each year. State departments of corrections (DOCs) and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) use their administrative records to tally their prison populations by jurisdiction, types of prison admissions and releases during the past year, race/Hispanic origin, and capacity of the facilities that hold prisoners in their custody. NPS also provides annual information on the number of confirmed cases of HIV/AIDS and current testing policies for these conditions. NPS has been collected annually since 1926, and these data are used in BJS’s Prisoners series and Corrections Populations in the United States series bulletins.

Through the NCRP, BJS collects individual (or offender) level data on prisoners entering or leaving the custody of state prison systems and post-custody community supervision programs (PCCS). The NCRP data, collected annually since 1983, are derived from state prison and PCCS administrative records and currently consist of five separate files for each year: prison admissions, census of state prisoners on December 31, prison releases, entry to PCCS programs, and exits from PCCS programs. A major improvement in NCRP data in the past 5 years has been to link the prison and PCCS records into “terms” for the majority of states submitting data. A term is defined as the period from admission to release. BJS uses these data to study a wide variety of special topics in corrections—recidivism of state prisoners (by linking the NCRP data to criminal history records), prisoner reentry, aging of the prison population, trends in state PCCS, outcomes of PCCS supervision, and other issues. Additionally, BJS uses these data to support its ongoing efforts to study changes in the racial and offense composition of national corrections populations, to study movements and transitions between stages of the corrections process, and to compare differences among states’ correctional populations.

Consistent with BJS’s mission and the principles and practices of federal statistical agencies, BJS intends to use the NPS and NCRP to enhance the information systems of state DOCs to foster their participation in national corrections statistical reporting programs. To that end, BJS will provide technical assistance, access to online data tools, and support in providing NCRP data through the Department of Justice’s Global Justice Sharing Initiative (http://it.ojp.gov/default.aspx?area=globalJustice).

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.


Date Created: September 22, 2015