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Tracking Offenders, 1988

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 1991
Fourteen States participate in the Offender-Based Transaction Statistics (OBTS) program of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The data provided to OBTS permits a comprehensive examination of the outcomes of felony arrest, prosecution, and conviction.

Several major findings resulted from an analysis of OBTS data on felony cases in 1988. Of the over 500,000 prosecutions reported to the system, almost one-quarter resulted in a court dismissal and almost three-quarters ended in conviction. More than 60 percent of convicted offenders received a State prison or local jail sentence. Most persons arrested for all types of felonies were white, male, and under age 30. Whites and blacks comprised nearly equal proportions of violent offenders. An OBTS record differentiates between arrestees, incidents, and charges. Each arrestee is identified through fingerprints and an identification number that can be linked to earlier records. The use of incident numbers allows record condensing in multiple-charge cases. In multiple-charge cases, the system collects the most serious arrest charge as well as the most serious disposition. Information on sentencing is also part of the record. 10 tables, 1 figure, and 1 appendix

Date Published: June 1, 1991