CJARS is a data infrastructure at the University of Michigan that seeks to improve public administration of the U.S. criminal justice system through data-driven research and statistical reporting to practitioners.
CJARS is the first integrated national research data repository that follows individuals from arrest through post-conviction and our data comes from all stages of the justice system and from a wide range of jurisdictions. In cooperation with the U.S. Census Bureau, CJARS’ data is linked to social, economic, and demographic data held by the federal government in the Federal Statistical Research Data Center network (FSRDC).
If your agency is interested in partnering with CJARS, please contact our team.
Value provided back to providers
CJARS offers the following data and analytical services to participating agencies:
- Statistical reports on caseload composition and outcomes
- Caseload projections and trends analysis
- Program evaluations
- Delivery of harmonized, integrated multi-agency data (criminal justice data only, and only where all parties have agreed to the integration)
Security and confidentiality are fundamental
CJARS has prioritized security and confidentiality:
- IT infrastructure meets the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy
- Research to be conducted on secure federal networks by qualified researchers with Census Bureau-approved projects
- Each agency can review any research proposals to that seek to identify an agency
Administrative data from agencies
CJARS collects records through multiple channels: accessing publicly available databases online, purchasing public information through Freedom of Information Act mechanisms, and engaging agencies directly with data use agreements (DUAs). The mode of collection depends on the local context, but preference is always given to signing DUAs.
CJARS currently hosts data from a number of state and local jurisdictions. At the state level, these are typically correctional population and court records. Data on arrests, bookings, and jail sentences usually must be collected at the local or county level.
Currently, CJARS has over 3 billion records, which includes 177 million criminal justice events covering 38 million unique individuals from across the United States.