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February 27, 2007

New (old) data from the USSC

I was very pleased to discover that federal sentencing data junkies have a new treasure trove of information from the US Sentencing Commission: the 2006 Annual Report and the 2006 Statistical Sourcebook. Here's the USSC's terse account of these two important new documents:

The 2006 Annual Report presents an overview of major Commission activities and accomplishments for fiscal year 2005.  See the Commission's 2006 Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics for descriptive figures, tables, and charts, and selected district, circuit, and national sentencing data.

Though the data in the statistical sourcebook covers sentencing outcomes only through September 30, 2006, there are so many intriguing bits of data for anyone eager or able to mine data to really figure out what is happening post-Booker.  I hope in the days ahead to have the time to mine some of these data for interesting stories.

February 27, 2007 at 08:15 AM | Permalink


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"Only" through 9/06?!

People never understand why they can't get statistics from oh, say, yesterday. Here's why: You have to a) have the time, money (most likely a grant, which is another process in and of itself), and staff to compile a product; b) be able to obtain the numbers from somebody (which implies that that somebody is keeping track of things in a meaningful way). By the time the entity gathers the numbers and the compiler gets them, much time has passed since the thing you're trying to count actually happened. Then, of course, comes the publication process. This can take years...

OK, back to work!

Posted by: Anne | Feb 27, 2007 10:57:46 AM

I agree with Anne. I have worked with the Commission's data file and I applaud their efforts to be able to have data on over 70,000 cases only a few months after the fiscal year has finished. Professor Berman's non-too-subtle shot at the Commission by saying "only" shows that those in Ivory Towers have no idea about real world circumstances. How many of your law students would it take to code over 500 variables and 70,000 cases? Good job Commission, I look forward to when the 2006 data is public.

Posted by: Kelly Nance | Feb 28, 2007 6:54:12 AM

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