Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 22, 2010
Justice Department Announces Release of New Information Online as Part of President’s Open Government Initiative

As part of the Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative, and in compliance with the Open Government Directive issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli today announced the online publication of three high-value sets of data not previously made available by the Department of Justice. The new data sets include statistics on crime victimizations, information about compensation for radiation victims, and final reports from federal bankruptcy trustees.

This information is being posted on the department’s Web site and is also available on www.Data.gov . A number of other department components are in the process of identifying and publishing newly available data in machine-readable format, the department said.

The department is releasing information not previously available online to increase accountability and responsiveness; improve public knowledge of the department’s operations; create economic opportunity; and respond to need and demand as identified through public consultation.

"We are committed to achieving the President’s goal of making this the most transparent Administration in history," Perrelli said. "The information we are making available today represents another step in our ongoing commitment toward becoming a more open and accessible Justice Department to the public, the media, academia and others interested in what we do every day."

 The three data sets posted today are:

Bureau of Justice Statistics Criminal Victimization (data for 2008)

The survey enables the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) to estimate the likelihood of victimization by rape, sexual assault, robbery, assault, theft, household burglary and motor vehicle theft for the population as a whole, as well as for different segments of the population, such as women, the elderly, members of various racial groups, city dwellers or others.

The report is based on the National Criminal Victimization Survey, the nation’s primary source of information on criminal victimization. Each year, data are obtained from a nationally representative sample of 76,000 households comprising nearly 135,300 persons on the frequency, characteristics and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States.

The Civil Division’s Radiation Exposure Compensation Program

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Program (RECA) will make available three new reports not currently publicly available on line:

  • RECA claims as of Jan. 13, 2010 by state/country. The data reflect the number of claims filed, pending, denied, approved, and compensation awarded, by state or country.
  • Outreach log since FY 2006. Each time RECA staff attempt to reach an individual, that action is recorded as an "outreach event," with numbers of staff and hours detailed.
  • RECA Summary Report FY 1992-2010, containing two charts; one a count of claims received and the second reflecting the number of claims awarded and denied, with award amounts for each fiscal year since 1992.

RECA was passed by Congress in 1990 to provide partial restitution for individuals who developed serious illnesses after exposure to radiation released during atmospheric nuclear tests or after employment in the uranium industry. The program enables claimants to use existing records so that their claims can be resolved in a reliable, objective and non-adversarial manner, with little administrative cost to the person filing the claim.

The U.S. Trustee Program

The U.S. Trustee Program (USTP) is making available certain final reports filed by trustees after a Chapter 7 case with assets is closed. These reports contain the disposition of assets, distribution of funds to creditors, and administrative expenses for the calendar years 2000 to 2008. For privacy reasons, the files will not identify case numbers or the names of debtors or trustees. The USTP is also releasing information on instances where interpreter services were used.

USTP oversees the administration of federal bankruptcy cases, including oversight of approximately 1,100 private trustees who administer Chapter 7 cases. Chapter 7 trustees collect and liquidate non-exempt assets and distribute funds to creditors in accordance with the Bankruptcy Code. In FY 2008, Chapter 7 trustees administered approximately 69,000 Chapter 7 asset cases that generated more than $3 billion in funds.

In addition to the above data sets, other department components have identified and will publish additional high-value data sets including:

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) will publish FY 2009 grant award data for the Secure Our Schools (SOS), including number of applicants, number of awards and list of successful applicants with award amount, schools served and items requested. COPS anticipates posting the new data within a few days.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) will post the following new statistical graphs and table: graphs showing for each year and month the count and rate of incidents of assault on both staff and other inmates. The graphs are updated monthly and cover each month for the previous five years. BOP will also provide a table showing the count of inmates who have court-imposed financial responsibilities and their current status in meeting them; updated monthly.

BJS is also releasing three additional data files:

  • National Corrections Reporting Program 2004; the program annually collects administrative information on adults admitted to and released from prison, and on parole entries and discharges, in participating jurisdictions.
  • Census of Jails 2006; the census of jails is conducted every five to seven years, and provides information on one-day counts plus average daily populations, staffing and programs of individual jails
  • Annual Survey of Jails 2007; the annual survey of jails collects data from a nationally representative sample of local jails on jail inmate populations, jail capacity and other related information. The 2007 data set marks the first release of facility-level data.

USTP will release next month summary statistical tables on civil enforcement activity, which provide comparison data for the Fiscal Years 2004 to 2009.

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