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The act of a court in making an order, judgment, or decree.


All persons booked into and housed in jail facilities by formal legal document and the authority of the courts or some other official agency, including repeat offenders booked on new charges and persons sentenced to weekend programs or entering the facility for the first time. They exclude inmates re-entering the facility after an escape, work release, medical appointment, stay in a treatment facility, and bail or court appearance.

Age category

The appropriate age category is determined by the respondent's age on the last day of the month preceding the interview.

Aggravated assault

An attack or attempted attack with a weapon, regardless of whether an injury occurred, and an attack without a weapon when serious injury results.
With injury - An attack without a weapon when serious injury results or an attack with a weapon involving any injury. Serious injury includes broken bones, lost teeth, internal injuries, loss of consciousness, and any unspecified injury requiring two or more days of hospitalization.

Threatened with a weapon - Threat or attempted attack by an offender armed with a gun, knife, or other object used as a weapon that does not result in victim injury.

Annual household income

The total household income for the 12 months preceding the interview. Includes wages, salaries, net income from businesses or farms, pensions, interest, dividends, rent, and any other source of monetary income of the head of household and all household members.

Appellate Courts

Any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal.


The act of detaining in legal custody. An "arrest" is the deprivation of a person's liberty by legal authority in response to a criminal charge.


An unlawful physical attack or threat of attack. Assaults may be classified as aggravated or simple. Rape, attempted rape, and sexual assaults are excluded from this category, as well as robbery and attempted robbery. The severity of assaults ranges from minor threats to nearly fatal incidents.

Assigned counsel

The appointment from a list of private bar members who accept cases on a judge-by-judge, court-by-court, or case-by-case basis. This may include an administrative component and a set of rules and guidelines governing the appointment and processing of cases handled by the private bar members.

Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)

An automated system for searching fingerprint files and transmitting fingerprint images. AFIS computer equipment can scan fingerprint impressions (or utilize electronically transmitted fingerprint images) and automatically extract and digitize ridge details and other identifying characteristics in sufficient detail to enable the computer's searching and matching components to distinguish a single fingerprint from thousands or even millions of fingerprints previously scanned and stored in digital form in the computer's memory. The process eliminates the manual searching of fingerprint files and increases the speed and accuracy of ten-print processing (arrest fingerprint cards and noncriminal justice applicant fingerprint cards). AFIS equipment also can be used to identify individuals from "latent" (crime scene) fingerprints, with even fragmentary prints of single fingers in some cases. Digital fingerprint images generated by AFIS equipment can be transmitted electronically to remote sites, eliminating the necessity of mailing fingerprint cards and providing remote access to AFIS fingerprint files.

Average daily population

The sum of inmates in jail each day for a year, divided by the number of days in the year.

Bench trial (nonjury trial)

A trial held in the absence of a jury and decided by a judge culminating in a judgment for the plaintiff(s) or defendant(s).

Body armor

A protective piece designed to stop projectiles. Body armor can provide protection against a significant number of types of handgun ammunition, but unfortunately there is no such thing as bulletproof armor.


Includes unlawful or forcible entry or attempted entry of places, including a permanent residence, other residence (e.g., a hotel room or vacation residence), or other structure (e.g., a garage or shed). Includes victimizations where the offender stole, attempted to steal, or did not attempt to steal. Does not include trespassing on land.
Burglary - Includes only crimes where the offender committed or attempted a theft.

Trespassing - Includes crimes where the offender did not commit or attempt a theft. Does not include trespassing on land.


A company, service or membership organization consisting of one or more establishments under common ownership or control. For this survey, major subsidiaries were treated as separate businesses.

Capital cases

Crimes that can result in a death penalty.

Capital punishment

Capital punishment refers to the process of sentencing convicted offenders to death for the most serious crimes (capital crimes) and carrying out that sentence. The specific offenses and circumstances that determine if a crime (usually murder) is eligible for a death sentence are defined by statute and are prescribed by Congress or any state legislature.

Cause of death

A description of the specific factors leading to the termination of the biological functions that sustain life.


An acronym for Customs and Border Protection, was established May 1, 2003 to combine the inspectional workforces and broad border authorities of the U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the U.S. Border Patrol, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. CBP is tasked with stopping terrorists, terrorist weapons, illegal drugs, aliens, and materials harmful to agriculture from entering at, or between, ports of entry.

Central repository

The database (or the agency housing the database) that maintains criminal history records on all state offenders. Records include fingerprint files and files containing identification segments and notations of arrests and dispositions. The central repository is generally responsible for state-level identification of arrestees, and commonly serves as the central control terminal for contact with FBI record systems. Inquiries from local agencies for a national record check (for criminal justice or firearm check purposes) are routed to the FBI via the central repository. Although usually housed in the Department of Public Safety, the central repository may be maintained in some states by the state police or some other state agency.


An organization that works with the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) and the private sector. CERT C.C. studies computer and network security in order to provide incident response services to victims of attacks, publish alerts concerning vulnerabilities and threats, and offer information to help improve computer and network security.

Chemical agents

A chemical compound that has deleterious effects on human health. There are a number of different types of chemical agents, and a range of uses for these compounds, from crowd control to chemical warfare.


COSIS is an acronym for Combined DNA Index System, which is a computer software program that operates local, state, and national databases of DNA profiles from convicted offenders, unsolved crime scene evidence, and missing persons.

Collection year

The set of victimizations reported to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) in interviews conducted during the same calendar year. This set may include victimizations that occurred in the previous calendar year, due to the retrospective nature of the NCVS interview. Collection year data are used in tables beginning in 1996. See "Data year."

Commercial crimes

Crimes against commercial establishments of any type are not included in the survey. Commercial establishments include stores, restaurants, businesses, service stations, medical offices or hospitals, or other similar establishments. For victimizations occurring in commercial establishments, the crime is included or not included depending on whether the survey respondent was threatened or harmed in some way or personal property was taken.