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The information on Sourcebook Online has been organized on a topical basis. Six broad areas of interest are used to group similar data:

Criminal justice characteristics provides information on criminal justice systems, such as courts and corrections. Budgets, workloads, expenditures for criminal justice activities, and employment and characteristics of agencies and departments are some of the statistics in this section.

Public opinion displays the results of polls on crime and criminal justice-related topics, for example, the death penalty, fear of crime, and gun control.

Crime, victims includes data from victimization surveys, officially recorded data on offenses known to law enforcement agencies, and self-reports of criminal involvement that describe the nature and extent of criminal activity in the United States. Sources include the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Uniform Crime Reporting Program from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and many others.

Arrests, seizures covers information on persons arrested in the United States and seizure activities of Federal agencies.

Courts, prosecution, sentencing presents data on processing of criminal defendants in all levels of United States courts (Federal, State, local, juvenile); among the topics in this section are defendants prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced; types and lengths of sentences, and prisoner petitions and appeals filed.

Parole, jails, prisons, death penalty displays statistics on persons in community and under correctional supervision, including jail and prison populations, characteristics of prisoners, time served, and prisoners under sentence of death and executed.

Descriptions of the sources of the data tables on this site and links to online original sources are available on the source annotations page. A list of the addresses of contributing agencies and organizations, along with links to their web sites, are on the contributors' addresses page. There also is a page listing technical appendices that have been provided for sources needing more detailed descriptions of their data collection methodology.

Finding statistics

The Contents and Topics A-Z pages provide more detailed breakdowns on the tables available on Sourcebook Online. Within each of the six sections described above, content listings show groups of tables on similar topics.

Topics A-Z is an alphabetical listing of main topics for which data are available, many with subcategory breakdowns identifying relevant tables.

Searching Sourcebook Online yields a listing of tables that include the exact search term(s) entered.

Sourcebook Online files

Acrobat and spreadsheet format files are used to display information on this website.

Acrobat files

Portable document files (.pdf) reflect the exact presentation of sections and tables in the published editions of Sourcebook. These files can be viewed and printed on any platform. A free viewer appropriate for your computer is needed to view an Acrobat document. You can download the appropriate viewer and instructions for installation from the Adobe website. This viewer can be used as a stand-alone or as a plug-in within a web browser to view documents as they are downloaded from the Internet. Instructions on using this software as a plug-in should be available with your web browser.

Note and appendix references appearing on Sourcebook Online tables have been linked to their .pdf versions.

ZIP archives

Past editions of the print Sourcebook are available online at the archive page. There are links to individual sections in .pdf format; complete books are available in a zip archive, which includes .pdf files for the front matter, six sections, and the back matter of each edition. These .zip files must be expanded for use. Commercial and free expanders are available for most platforms. Go to Info-ZIP for free, portable, high quality versions of Zip and Unzip compressor-archive utilities.

Spreadsheets

All tables on the site are available in comma separated values (.csv) format, readable by spreadsheet and statistical anaylsis software. Applications that will read .csv files can be used as a helper application with many browsers. Instructions on using this software as a plug-in should be available with your web browser.

Archive of past Sourcebooks

The archive page makes available the last nine editions of the print version of the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics. Each section is available individually in .pdf format and each complete edition is available in one zip file (see above). Each zip archive includes separate .pdf files for the front matter, six section files, and the back matter of each edition. When printed, these files look exactly like the printed publications and include all the tables and additional front and back matter. These fully searchable files also can be downloaded to your computer and accessed as needed.