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Introductory webinar

Missed our introductory webinar but still want to learn more about what CJARS can offer? Check out the recording of the presentation below.

Click here to download a copy of the slides (with clickable hyperlinks).

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of variables are included in the CJARS data? How do I know if I can answer my research questions using this data? [bg_collapse view=”link” expand_text=”Show Answer” collapse_text=”Hide Answer”] The CJARS data infrastructure includes information on the major types of criminal justice case processing events including: arrests, criminal court cases filings, and spells of probation, incarceration, and parole. CJARS has released extensive data documentation where you can find more details about the structure of the CJARS data, all available variables, variable coding schemes, and basic descriptive statistics for the variables.[/bg_collapse]

It is stated that one of the missions of CJARS is to build a data system with nationwide coverage of the justice system. What geographies are currently covered by CJARS?[bg_collapse view=”link” expand_text=”Show Answer” collapse_text=”Hide Answer”] CJARS data coverage is constantly growing as we continue to collect data. The CJARS data documentation details state-by-state coverage which provides information on the types of events covered and the time period of coverage. If you have data, or know someone with data that would like to donate it to CJARS, please reach out to the CJARS staff at[/bg_collapse]

What types of information are within the scope of CJARS? Are records from the juvenile justice system included?[bg_collapse view=”link” expand_text=”Show Answer” collapse_text=”Hide Answer”]The CJARS data documentation describes the types of records that fall within the scope of CJARS. Juvenile justice data is an aspect of the justice system that is not covered. As a project, we have designed CJARS to be inclusive of the most important types of events that occur in the justice system given the resources we have available. This has meant that we have tried to strike a good balance between abstraction and complexity in order to support the widest range of research possible.[/bg_collapse]

Is data that is collected or donated validated before it becomes a part of the CJARS data system?[bg_collapse view=”link” expand_text=”Show Answer” collapse_text=”Hide Answer”]The data that is collected or received through donations goes through extensive validation checks before being made available for research. The validation exercises include extensive logical checks and benchmarking exercises. CJARS has published a report documenting the results of exercises that were conducted to compare CJARS data holdings against other widely used and accepted sources of data available through the Bureau of Justice Statistics.[/bg_collapse]

Can CJARS data be linked to other data available in the FSRDC environment, such as the American Community Survey or Decennial Censuses? Can external researchers bring their own data into the FSRDC environment and link it to CJARS?[bg_collapse view=”link” expand_text=”Show Answer” collapse_text=”Hide Answer”]Yes, CJARS can be linked at the person-level to the other data that is available through the FSRDC system. This includes datasets such as the American Community Survey microdata and Decennial Censuses. Click for a list of data that can be linked in the FSRDC system. In addition, researchers can also bring their own data into the FSRDC network for linkage. Researchers should consult with their local FSRDC administrator to learn more about costs and feasibility.[/bg_collapse]

How do you gain access to an FSRDC? Can the FSRDC environment be accessed remotely? [bg_collapse view=”link” expand_text=”Show Answer” collapse_text=”Hide Answer”]To be able to conduct research in an FSRDC, you must first submit a research proposal and receive approval for your project from the Census Bureau. More about this process can be found in the CJARS proposal guide. FSRDCs are physical locations where researchers conduct their research in a secure computing environment. Click here for a list of FSRDC locations. While FSRDCs are physical locations, some researchers have been given remote access due to restrictions from COVID. There could also be opportunities for more remote access in the future.[/bg_collapse]

Can non-citizens of the U.S. obtain access to the FSRDC network? Can individuals who are not affiliated with a university apply for FSRDC access?[bg_collapse view=”link” expand_text=”Show Answer” collapse_text=”Hide Answer”]All FSRDC researchers must pass a federal background check. Neither U.S. citizenship nor university affiliation is a requirement to gain FSRDC access. Individuals that have spent three of the past five year in the U.S. can also obtain access, and the three years do not need to be consecutive. No one can access the FSRDC from outside of the U.S., but non-citizens outside of the U.S. can collaborate with researchers based in the U.S. on projects that use FSRDC data. In this scenario, the researcher(s) based in the U.S. would be able to work with data in the FSRDC system. After results have been approved for disclosure by the Census Bureau’s Disclosure Review Board, the researcher based outside of the U.S. would then be able to view results and contribute to other research activities, such as manuscript or report writing.[/bg_collapse]

Will the CJARS data ever be made publicly available? [bg_collapse view=”link” expand_text=”Show Answer” collapse_text=”Hide Answer”]CJARS plans to release a synthetic version of its data publicly that will reproduce underlying variation in the full restricted-access version of the data, but will not include any of the original records in order to protect the identities and characteristics of individuals in the CJARS data. The synthetic data is under development and will be released by the end of 2022. It should also be noted that the full restricted-access version of the CJARS data infrastructure will never be made publicly available. To access the full restricted-access version of the CJARS data, researchers must apply to use it in the Census Bureau’s FSRDC network. This is to ensure data privacy and security. CJARS goes to great lengths to ensure the protection of its data.[/bg_collapse]

CJARS is on What kinds of code, data, or other info are expected to be available? [bg_collapse view=”link” expand_text=”Show Answer” collapse_text=”Hide Answer”]We do not plan to make any CJARS data available on GitHub for data privacy/security reasons. It is our intent that code used for research purposes could be posted. This will be done so that other researchers can replicate the findings of research efforts conducted using CJARS (if they also apply for access to the data through the FSRDC network).[/bg_collapse]

Who is eligible for the 2021 CJARS-NSF fellowship competition? Will graduate students and non-citizens be eligible to apply? [bg_collapse view=”link” expand_text=”Show Answer” collapse_text=”Hide Answer”]Any individual who is able obtain Special Sworn Status with the Census Bureau and gain access to an FSRDC is able to apply. Please consult your local FSRDC administrator to discuss requirements for obtaining Special Sworn Status and FSRDC access. Also, please read our fellowship competition page for more details and to download the program solicitation.[/bg_collapse]