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On December 31, 2012, after serving two and a half years as director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, James P. Lynch left his position to become Chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland. While serving as BJS director, he led efforts to increase funding that improved and expanded BJS data collections. The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) has been improved, and steps have been taken to redesign the survey that would increase its utility in the areas of subnational estimates and the measurement of rape and sexual assault. In the National Crime Statistics Exchange (NCS-X) project, the foundation has been laid to complete a nationally representative incident-level system of police administrative records on offenses known to the police. The criminal history records that BJS built over the last two decades are now being used for recidivism collections and other statistical purposes. Efforts are underway to improve both the National Judicial Reporting Program (NJRP) and the National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP). New data collections have begun regarding tribal courts and agencies serving victims. Director Lynch also oversaw efforts to build or maintain the core data collections on police, courts, corrections, expenditures, and deaths in custody and the process of arrest.
In farewell comments to the staff, Jim said-
In the daily grind, you may lose sight of the importance of BJS and the uniqueness of your contribution to the nation. BJS's estimates are the last word on crime and justice topics, and I know from my time here that you have earned that status. As director I am often asked how many people work at BJS and, when I tell them, people are universally shocked at how so few do so much. I hope that I have contributed to your work environment as you have to mine. Together I believe that we have been able to make real contributions to our statistical infra-structure and to enhance the status of BJS within the Department of Justice and the federal statistical community.
William J. Sabol, principal deputy director at BJS, is serving as acting director.
Promising practices by states for improved record reporting
The BJS website now has information on promising practices by Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia for improved record reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This information responds to requirements in the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-180) and the recent GAO Report Gun Control: Sharing Promising Practices and Assessing Incentives Could Better Position Justice to Assist States in Providing Records for Background Checks (GAO-12-684). The promising practices involve identifying, collecting, maintaining, automating, and transmitting information that determines whether a person is prohibited by federal or state law from possessing or receiving a firearm, and that improves the availability of these records to national systems. Several practices focus on how to improve reporting of mental health information while others address how to determine relevant records, how to facilitate broader coordination, or other process improvement efforts.
BJS Website Improvements Page
BJS has recently made some changes to its website based on customer feedback. You can find a list of these improvements on our new website improvements page with links and additional guidance. Thank you for continuing to send us your feedback via the AskBJS email and our online user satisfaction survey. We appreciate hearing how we're doing and what we can do to further address your needs. Work on additional enhancements to improve your experience is ongoing.