# Criminal Justice Statistics

1128 Words3 Pages

How and Why Statistical Data Should Be Used to Support Criminal Justice Policy Many people have misgivings about statistics. The saying “facts speak louder than statistics”, and there are three types of lies: 1) lies, 2) damn lies, 3) and statistics, are ever present in most people’s minds, including those of policymakers, judges, and litigants. Another popular saying is “If you laid all the statistics in the world head to toe, they still would not reach a conclusion” (Paul & Williams, 2003). With all that being said, policymakers and litigants often utilize data to prove points, assist in making crucial decisions, and often the problem is not the data or statistics, rather they simply require interpretation so people can understand …show more content…

The issue with statistics in criminal justice policy making is mainly: 1) Understanding the variables, and 2) Most criminal justice statistics are rarely collected in a controlled condition that tests research hypothesis. Questions that pertain to causation, such as whether a policy change has attained the desired effect, or if a specific treatment program is returning the results desired, can almost never be answered in a straightforward way. Using specific tools of the statistical trade can narrow the plausible explanations, but a single, plausible answer may never come about (Paul & Williams, 2003). Statistics are now used on an increasing basis to regulate the criminal justice system, as well as measure the needs and desires of a society, community, or facility. Most people gain their knowledge of criminal policy through social attitudes of friends and families, whereas using statistics allows them to gain knowledge of what is occurring at a certain time period. This allows policymakers, litigants, and judges to adapt to whatever the data is presenting. Another important attribute that statistics bring to the fight for criminal justice policy is to assist criminal justice officials a researched, proven way to protect individuals more appropriately, spend wiser using their limited budgets, and measure performance across the entire criminal justice process, from policy making, to policy enforcement, …show more content…

They are “Descriptive Statistics”, which help describe, show, or summarize data that may have patterns emerge from the data. The other type of analysis is “Inference Statistics”, which provides data from a sample of a population, where the entire population cannot be tested for information. This data comes from several sources, and is integral in every aspect of proper statistical criminal justice analysis. The first and foremost of these institutions is the Bureau of Justice Statistics, led by the Department of Justice. It is responsible for the administration, regulation, oversight, compilation, and provision of criminal justice statistics, done through specified research ("Shocking facts from the Bureau of Justice Statistics",