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Jail inmates

Offenders confined in short-term facilities that are usually administered by a local law enforcement agency and that are intended for adults but sometimes hold juveniles before or after adjudication. Jail inmates usually have a sentence of less than 1 year or are being held pending a trial, awaiting sentencing, or awaiting transfer to other facilities after a conviction.

Jail jurisdiction

A county (parish in Louisiana) or municipal government that administers one or more local jails and represents the entity responsible for managing jail facilities under its authority. Most jail jurisdictions consist of a single facility, but some have multiple facilities or multiple facility-operators.

Judicial and legal services

Includes all civil and criminal courts and acti­vities associated with courts, such as law libraries, grand juries, petit juries, medical and social service activities, court reporters, judicial councils, bailiffs, and probate functions. It also includes the civil and criminal justice activities of the attorneys general, dis­trict attorneys, state's attorneys, and their variously named equivalents and corporation coun­sels, solicitors, and legal departments with various names. It excludes legal units of noncriminal justice agencies, whose functions may be performed by a legal services department in other jurisdictions (such as a county counsel).

Judicial selection

The selection system involves a nonpartisan commission that reviews the qualifications of applicants for judicial office.


A unit of government or the legal authority to exercise governmental power. In corrections, it refers to the government that has legal authority over an inmate (state or federal). Prisoners under a given state's jurisdiction may be housed in another state or local correctional facility.

Jurisdiction count

Prisoners under legal authority of state or federal correctional authorities who are housed in prison facilities (e.g., prisons, penitentiaries, and correctional institutions; boot camps; prison farms; reception, diagnostic, and classification centers; release centers, halfway houses and road camps; forestry and conservation camps; vocational training facilities; prison hospitals; and drug and alcohol treatment facilities for prisoners), regardless of which government entity physically holds them. This number also includes prisoners who are temporarily absent (fewer than 30 days), out to court, or on work release; housed in local jails, private facilities, and other states or federal facilities; and serving a sentence for two jurisdictions at the same time. This count excludes prisoners held in a state or federal facility for another state or the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). However, prisoners housed in another state and under the legal authority of the governing state are included.

Jury trial

A trial held before and decided by a group of laypersons selected according to the law presided over by a judge culminating in a verdict for the plaintiff(s) and/or defendant(s). Unless noted, the term jury trial includes trials with a directed verdict, judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), and jury trials for defaulted defendants.

Justice employees

Justice employees are all persons on government payrolls. This includes paid officials and persons on paid leave but excludes unpaid officials, persons on unpaid leave, pensioners, and contractors.

Justice expenditure

Includes only external cash payments made from any source of funds, including any payments fi­nanced from borrowing, fund balances, inter­governmental revenue, and other current revenue. It excludes any intra­governmental transfers and noncash trans­actions, such as the provision of meals or housing of employees. It also excludes retirement of debt, investment in securities, extensions of loans, or agency transactions. Total expendi­tures for all government functions do include interest payments on debt, but the justice expenditure data do not.

Justice functions

Justice expenditure and employment variables that include three primary categories: police protection, judicial and legal services, and corrections.

Juvenile Justice Record

Official records of juvenile justice adjudications. Most adult criminal history record systems do not accept such records, which are frequently not supported by fingerprints and which are usually confidential under state law. Pursuant to an order dated July 15, 1992, the FBI now accepts and will disseminate juvenile records on the same basis as adult records. States, however, are not required to submit such records to the FBI.


The unlawful taking of property other than a motor vehicle from the possession of another, by stealth, without force or deceit. Includes pocket picking, nonforcible purse snatching, shoplifting, and thefts from motor vehicles. Excludes receiving and/or reselling stolen property (fencing) and thefts through fraud or deceit.

Large law enforcement agencies

Non-federal departments employing 100 or more full-time sworn officers.

Law enforcement

The generic name for the activities of the agencies responsible for maintaining public order and enforcing the law, particularly the activities of prevention, detection, and investigation of crime and the apprehension of criminals.

Legal motion

A procedural device in law to bring a limited, contested issue before a court for decision.

Less-lethal weapons

Less-lethal technologies give police an alternative to lethal force. These weapons are especially valuable when lethal force (1) is not necessary, (2) is justified and available for backup, but lesser force may resolve the situation, or (3) is justified, but its use could cause serious injury to bystanders or other unacceptable collateral effects. The weapons currently in use include chemical agents, batons, soft projectiles, and electroshock weapons, such as stun guns and Tasers.

Livescan and Cardscan

Livescans are automated devices for generating and transmitting digitized fingerprint images. Livescan devices capture fingerprint images directly from subjects' fingers, which are rolled onto glass scanning plates. Cardscan devices scan and digitize standard inked fingerprint cards and can transmit electronic images with related textual data to remote sites for printout or direct use.

Local law enforcement officer

An employee of a local law enforcement agency who is an officer sworn to carry out law enforcement duties. Examples of this class are sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, chiefs of police, city police officers, and sworn personnel of law enforcement subunits of port and transit authorities. For national level general data, this class includes campus police officers employed by of local city and community college districts. Private campus police are excluded.


Failure of a professional person, as a physician or lawyer, to render proper services through reprehensible ignorance or negligence or through criminal intent, especially when injury or loss follows.

Manner of death

An explanation of how a person died, typically illustrated by a one word description of the intentions and circumstances that led to the stated medical cause of death. Essentially, the manner of death is the way in which death was caused and is typically listed as natural, accident, homicide, suicide, or undetermined.

Marital status

Every person is assigned to one of the following classifications: (1) married, which includes persons in common-law unions and those who are currently living apart for reasons other than marital discord (e.g., employment or military service); (2) separated or divorced, which includes married persons who are legally separated and those who are not living together because of marital discord; (3) widowed; and (4) never married, which includes persons whose marriages have been annulled and those who are living together and not in a common-law union.

Master Name Index (MNI)

A subject identification index maintained by criminal history record repositories that includes names and other identifiers for each person about whom a record is held in the systems. As of 1999, only one state did not have at least a partially automated MNI. Almost all states (45) had fully automated MNIs. The automated name index is the key to rapidly identifying persons who have criminal records for such purposes as presale firearm checks, criminal investigations, or bail setting. MNIs may include "felony flags," which indicate whether record subjects have arrests or convictions for felony offenses.


Of, relating to, or concerned with medicine and law; pertaining to legal aspects of the practice of medicine.

Mental health court

Specialized court dockets that provide community treatment and supervision in lieu of incarceration for criminal offenders with mental illness.

Mental health courts

Divert defendants with mental illness, traumatic brain injury, or developmental disabilities into judicially supervised, community-based treatment. Mental health courts include adult and juvenile mental health and adult co-occurring disorder courts.