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To have custody of a prisoner, a state or the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) must physically hold that person in one of its facilities. A locality, state, or the BOP may hold inmates over whom a different government maintains jurisdiction.

Custody count

The number of offenders in custody. To have custody of a prisoner, a state or the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) must physically hold that person in one of its facilities. A locality, state, or the BOP may have custody of a prisoner over whom a different government maintains jurisdiction.

Data quality

The extent to which criminal history records are complete, accurate, and timely. In addition, accessibility sometimes is considered a data quality factor. The key concern in data quality is the completeness of records and the extent to which records include dispositions as well as arrest and charge information. Other concerns include the timeliness of data reporting to state and federal repositories, the timeliness of data entry by the repositories, the readability of criminal history records, and the ability to have access to the records when necessary.

Data year

The set of victimizations reported to NCVS, all of which occurred within the same calendar year. For all years prior to 1996, Criminal Victimization in the United States tables are based on data year. Beginning in 1996, tables are based on collection year. See "Collection Year."

Deadly or lethal force

Force that a law enforcement officer uses with the purpose of causing, or that the officer knows to create a substantial risk of causing, death, or serious bodily harm.

Death row

Death row refers to incarcerated persons who have been sentenced to death and are awaiting execution (as in "inmates on death row"). Historically, death row was a slang term that referred to the area of a prison in which prisoners who were under a sentence of death were housed. Usage of the term continues despite the fact that many states do not maintain a separate unit or facility for condemned inmates.


Any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute.

Denial of service

The disruption, degradation, or exhaustion of an Internet connection or e-mail service that results in an interruption of the normal flow of information. Denial of service is usually caused by ping attacks, port scanning probes, or excessive amounts of incoming data.

Design capacity

The number of inmates that planners or architects intended for the facility.

Direct expenditure

All expenditure except that classified as inter­govern­mental. It includes "direct current expenditure" (salaries, wages, fees, commissions and purchases of supplies, materials, and contractual services) and "capital outlays" (con­struction and purchase of equipment, land, and existing structures). Capital outlays are included for the year when the direct expenditure is made, regardless of how the funds are raised (for example, by bond issue) or when they are paid back.


Individuals exiting parole supervision. Successful discharges include persons who have completed the term of conditional supervision. Unsuccessful discharges include revocations of parole, returns to prison or jail, and absconders. Parolees who are transferred to other jurisdictions and those who die while under supervision are not included in the calculation of success/failure rates.


The abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid, which is the genetic material present in the cells of all living organisms. DNA is the fundamental building block for an individual's entire genetic makeup. A person's DNA is the same in every cell (with a nucleus). DNA is contained in blood, semen, skin cells, tissue, organs, muscle, brain cells, bone, teeth, hair, saliva, mucus, perspiration, fingernails, urine, feces, etc.

Domestic violence

Refers to violence between spouses, or spousal abuse but can also include cohabitants and non-married intimate partners.

Domestic violence courts

Address criminal cases that involve offenses against persons who are related in some way, most often through intimate partnership or family relationship. They include integrated domestic violence courts, which handle both domestic violence and family issues (e.g., custody and visitation).

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) courts

Dedicated to changing the behavior of alcohol- or drug-dependent repeat offenders or high-blood alcohol content offenders arrested for DWI or driving under the influence (DUI). The goal of the court is to protect public safety while addressing the root cause of impaired driving. They include juvenile DWI courts.

Drug courts

Specialized courts designed to handle cases involving offenders who abuse addictive substances. Handle an underlying drug problem contributing to criminal behavior using nontraditional judicial proceedings and treatment with team-based services. These courts include adult, juvenile, and reentry drug courts.

Drug offenses

Drug trafficking—Includes trafficking, sales, distribution, possession with intent to distribute or sell, manufacturing, and smuggling of controlled substances. It does not include possession of controlled substances.

Other drug offenses—Includes possession of controlled substances, prescription violations, possession of drug paraphernalia, and other drug law violations.

Drug possession

Includes possession of an illegal drug, but excludes possession with intent to sell.

Drug trafficking

Includes manufacturing, distributing, selling, smuggling, and possession with intent to sell.


The highest academic grade level the offender completed prior to admission to prison.

Electronic vandalism or sabotage

The deliberate or malicious damage, defacement, destruction or other alteration of electronic files, data, web pages, or programs.


The unlawful misappropriation of money or other things of value, by the person to whom the property was entrusted (typically an employee), for his or her own purpose. Includes instances in which a computer was used to wrongfully transfer, counterfeit, forge or gain access to money, property, financial documents, insurance policies, deeds, use of rental cars, or various services by the person to whom they were entrusted.

Estimate flag

There are two types of estimate flags used in the N-DASH. One is used to flag estimates that are based on 10 or fewer sample cases or have a coefficient of variation of at least 50%. The other is used to flag estimates having a weighted number equal to 0 victimizations, rates that round to less than .05 per 1,000, or percentages that round to less than .5%.


A classification based on Hispanic culture and origin, regardless of race. Persons are asked directly if they are Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino before being asked about their racial category.

Excessive use of force

The application of lawful use of force in too many separate incidents.