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Law Enforcement, Federal Courts, and Prisons
This section presents data on crimes, arrests, Federal court cases, the legal profession, Federal and State prisoners, and use of the death penalty. The chief sources of data on these subjects are: Uniform Crime Reports for the United States, issued annually by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Annual Report of the Director and Special Reports on Federal Offenders and Persons Under the Supervision of the Federal Probation System, issued by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts; and Statistical Report, an annual review of the Federal prison system, and National Prisoner Statistics, issued by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration beginning 1971, and before then by the Bureau of Prisons; and Governmental Finances and Public Employment, issued annually by the Bureau of the Census. Limited information on juvenile delinquency and the operation of juvenile courts is collected by the Social and Rehabilitation Service of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Statistics on lawyers are compiled by the American Bar Foundation, Chicago, Illinois, and on law firms by the Bureau of the Census.
Other recent reports on subjects in this section are: 1970 National Jail Census, presenting characteristics of jails and their inmates, issued by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration; The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society, issued in 1967 by the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice; the Report of the President's National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, issued in 1968; the various Task Force Reports of the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, issued in 1969; Crime Against Small Business, issued in 1969 by the Small Business Administration; and, beginning 1969, the annual Expenditure and Employment Data for the Criminal Justice System, issued jointly by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration and the Bureau of the Census.
Law enforcement and legal jurisdiction.—Law enforcement is for the most part a function of State and local officers and agencies. The U.S. Constitution reserves general police powers to the States. By act of Congress, Federal offenses include only offenses against the U.S. Government and against its employees while engaged in their official duties, and offenses which involve the crossing of State lines or an interference with interstate commerce. Consequently, criminal offenses such as murder, robbery, burglary, theft, assault, and rape are violations of State laws unless they involve Federal property or a Federal officer while engaged in his official duties, or unless they occur in Federal territories or reservations or on the high seas. Excluding the military, there are 52 separate criminal law jurisdictions in the United States: 1 in each of the 50 States, 1 in the District of Columbia, and the Federal jurisdiction. Each of these has its own criminal law and procedure and its own law enforcement agencies. Yet the system of law enforcement is quite similar among the States, although there are often substantial differences in the penalties for like offenses.
Law enforcement can be divided into three parts. The first, covering the investigation of crimes and the arrest of persons suspected of committing them, involves municipal police, county police, State police, sheriffs, constables, marshals, Federal agents, and many kinds of special officers. The second phase is the prosecution of those charged with criminal offenses to determine whether they are in fact guilty. The agencies concerned include the courts, justices of the peace, municipal, State, and Federal grand juries, and prosecuting court officers. The third division of administration is concerned with the punishment or treatment of those convicted of crime. While the courts usually determine the sentence after conviction, the penalty is enforced by the prison, reformatory, or jail, or by probation or parole officials.
Crime. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, through its Uniform Crime Reporting Program, receives monthly and annual reports on a voluntary basis from law enforcement agencies throughout the country, currently representing 93 percent of the national population. Each month, city police, sheriffs, and State police file reports on the number of offenses that become known to them in the following seven crime categories murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny ($50 and over in value), and auto theft. These categories are the basis of the FBI's Crime Index, a measure of the extent, fluctuation, and distribution of serious crime in the United States. Monthly reports also contain data on the number of these crimes cleared by arrest and certain other analytical data pertaining to specific crime categories. Annual reports provide summaries of data concerning persons arrested for all criminal offenses, by age, sex, and race of the offender, as well as an accounting of the number of persons formally charged and their disposition.
In summarizing and publishing crime data, the FBI does not vouch for the validity of the reports it receives, but presents the data as information useful to persons concerned with the problem of crime and criminal-law enforcement. The FBI is the only agency which collects such data nationally on a regular basis.
Courts. Court statistics on criminal offenses and the outcome of prosecutions are incomplete for the country as a whole although data are available for many States individually. The only national compilations of such statistics were made by the Bureau of the Census from 1932 to 1945. At no time, however, were there more than 32 States involved in the reporting system.
Comprehensive information on the business of the Federal courts is collected by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and is published in the Annual Report of the Director and in Juror Utilization in United States Courts. The bulk of civil and criminal litigation in the country is commenced and determined in the various State courts. Only when the U.S. Constitution and acts of Congress specifically confer jurisdiction upon the Federal courts may civil litigation be heard and decided by these courts. Whether a State court or a Federal court has jurisdiction over a particular action is often difficult to determine. Generally, the Federal courts have jurisdiction over the following types of cases: Suits or proceedings by or against the United States; civil actions between private parties arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States; civil actions between private litigants who are citizens of different States; civil cases involving admiralty, maritime, or prize jurisdiction; all matters and proceedings in bankruptcy.
The Federal courts of original jurisdiction are known as the U.S. district courts. One or more of these courts is established in every State and one each in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Canal Zone, and Guam. Appeals from the district courts are taken to intermediate appellate courts of which there are 11, known as U.S. courts of appeals. The Supreme Court of the United States is the final and highest appellate court in the Federal system of courts.
Prisoners. Statistics of prisoners committed to penal institutions have been collected and published for a longer period of time than have other criminal statistics. Data on prisoners in Federal and State prisons and reformatories were collected annually by the Bureau of the Census until 1950. This work was transferred to the Bureau of Prisons in 1950 and to the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration in 1971. Summary statistics covering persons received and discharged from State prisons and reformatories and from Federal prisons and persons executed in the United States under civilian authority are now published periodically by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration in National Prisoner Statistics. Also, nearly every State publishes annual data either for its whole prison system or for each separate State institution.
Historical statistics.-Tabular headnotes provide cross-references, where applicable, to Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1957. See preface.
Source: Chart prepared by U.S. Bureau of the Census. Data from U.S. Public Health Service.
Source: Chart prepared by U.S. Bureau of the Census. Data from U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
No. 229. CRIMES AND CRIME RATES, BY TYPE: 1960 To 1972
[In thousands, except as indicated. Data refer to offenses known to the police. Rates are based on Bureau of the Census population data, excluding Armed Forces abroad. For definitions of crimes, see footnotes, table 230]
No. 230. CRIMES KNOWN TO THE POLICE, BY TYPE AND AREA: 1970 AND 1972 [In thousands, except rate. Estimated totals based on reports from city and rural law enforcement agencies representing 91 percent of the national population. Covers crimes constituting "FBI Crime Index"; see text, p. 144]
Total Rate 2 Total Rate 2 Total Rate Total Rate Total Rate: Total Rate 2
1 For definition of standard metropolitan statistical areas, see text, sec. 34. 2 Rate per 100,000 population based on Bureau of the Census estimated population as of July 1, excluding Armed Forces abroad. 3 All willful felonious homicides. Excludes attempts to kill, assaults to kill, suicides, accidental deaths, or justifiable homicides, and deaths caused by negligence. 4 Limited to forcible rapes and attempts. Includes the stealing or taking of anything of value by force or violence or by threat of force or violence; includes attempted robbery. Includes assault with intent to kill. Excludes simple assault, assault and battery, fighting, etc. 7 Includes any unlawful entry to commit a felony or a theft. Includes attempted burglary and burglary followed by larceny. • Includes theft of property or articles of value (except auto theft) without the use of force and violence or fraud. Excludes larceny resulting from burglary, embezzlement, "con" games, forgery, worthless checks, etc. Includes all cases where motor vehicles are driven away and abandoned. Excludes those taken for temporary use when actually returned by the taker.
Source of tables 229 and 230: U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports for the United States,
CRIME RATES, BY TYPE-STATES: 1970 AND 1972
[Offenses known to the police per 100,000 population. 1970 based on 1970 decennial census; 1971 based on Bureau of the Census estimated population as of July 1, excluding Armed Forces abroad. For definitions of crimes, see footnotes, table 2301
'Includes District of Columbia, not shown separately.
Source: U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports for the United States, annual.