About the Data

Many sources of data have been used in these reports. One highly valuable source is the Department of Justice's own files. Other important sources include publications from the U.S. Courts, many years of the annual Department of Justice "Congressional Authorization and Budget Submission", and the Civil Rights Division web site.

The case-by-case Justice Department information documenting referrals to federal prosecutors and prosecutions resulting was obtained under a series of FOIA actions brought by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). The original sources for the material are the semi-autonomous U.S. Attorneys who have a powerful voice in determining how the federal laws will be enforced in their individual districts. Although the department has been collecting enforcement information from the U.S. Attorneys for many decades, the adoption of a consistent coding system in 1986 has meant that since that year it has been possible to systematically track how a variety of laws are enforced in different parts of the country.

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts has long published annual statistics on criminal and civil cases. Recent years can be found on its web site. See, for example: http://www.uscourts.gov/library/statisticsalreports.html

In its annual budget request to Congress, the Department of Justice provides detailed descriptions of the activities of each of its divisions including the Civil Rights Division.

The Civil Rights Division web site located at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/crt-home.html provides valuable information about the Division's history, mission, and activities.