Frequency: Annually starting 1983
Latest data available: 2016
The National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) collects offender-level administrative data annually on prison admissions and releases, and yearend custody populations, and on parole entries and discharges in participating jurisdictions. Demographic information, conviction offenses, sentence length, minimum time to be served, credited jail time, type of admission, type of release, and time served are collected from individual prisoner records. The collection began in 1983 and is conducted annually. Beginning in 1999, jurisdictions also began providing a stock file for all inmates held at yearend. In 2012, jurisdictions began reporting parole entry data. The number of states submitting data to NCRP has varied over the years, but at least 38 states have provided some data since 2000. All fifty states provided at least one type of NCRP record in 2011-2014, with 49 submitting data in 2015 and 47 in 2016.
Danielle Kaeble, BJS Statistician (Email this expert)
Offender-level administrative data are gathered annually from state departments of corrections in a varying number of states on prisoners entering and leaving prison custody or community supervision. Since 1983, states have provided data for prisoners who were admitted to prison (Part A), released from prison (Part B), or released from parole (Part C). In 1999, BJS began requesting data on the custody population for each state at yearend (Part D). In 2012, BJS requested that states submit data on persons entering parole programs (Part E). Variables include dates and types of prison admission and release and parole program entry and exit, prior jail or prison time served, current offenses, and sentencing information. Background data on individuals includes year of birth, sex, race, Hispanic origin, Veteran status, and educational attainment.
Changes Over Time
The number of states submitting data has varied over time, as has the ability of states to provide each piece of information requested.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has administered the NCRP since 1983. The U.S. Bureau of the Census served as data collection agent for BJS until October 2010, when Abt Associates, Inc. assumed this position.
Until 1999, three separate files were requested annually: prisoners admitted to prison (Part A), prisoners released from prison (Part B), and persons released from parole (Part C). In 1999, BJS began requesting data on the custody population for each state at yearend (Part D). In 2012, BJS requested that states submit data on persons entering parole programs (Part E).
From 1983 to 2009, NCRP data were analyzed and archived each year in three or four year-specific files that corresponded to the file types that states were asked to submit to the Census Bureau. The four files are Prison Admissions (Part A), Prison Releases (Part B), Parole Exits (Part C), and Prison Custody (Part D). For example, the 2009 NCRP dataset consists of prison admissions occurring in 2009, prison releases occurring in 2009, parole exits occurring in 2009, and prisoners in custody on December 31, 2009.
Starting in 2011, BJS's data collection agent developed an algorithm to link the prison records (Parts A, B, and D) based on inmate ID numbers, dates of birth, admission, release, offense, and sentencing information in the NCRP data. The majority of states were able to have records linked for the time they submitted data between 2000 and 2014. These linked "term records" represent a single period of imprisonment for an individual offender, allowing analysts to more accurately calculate time served in prison and identify recidivists.
In 2011, BJS began archiving the NCRP data as a single, multi-year Term Record file. A Term Record represents a single period of incarceration for an individual offender. Each year, the archived Term Record file will be replaced by a new Term Record file that incorporates new NCRP data collected and processed during the previous year, as well as updates to previously collected data. For those few states with records that could not be linked, BJS will continue to archive the data in the year-specific separate NCRP files (A, B, D). Parole exit records (Part C) will continue to be archived separately, although BJS hopes to eventually link the Part C records with parole entry records (Part E). Because some users of NCRP will undoubtedly want to retain the old archive format, BJS has also archived statistical software that will return the four-file annual format.
In 2012, BJS received OMB clearance to ask states for several additional items of data, including the unique FBI identification number and several questions on previous military service and veteran status.
In 2015, BJS received OMB clearance to collect the security level at which inmates were held in prison.