Official criminal court data: An examination of their reliability

Abstract:
This paper examines criminal court data collected by the Czech courts and the Ministry of Justice, including information about proceedings, decisions, offenses, offenders, and sanctions. First, the dataset’s composition, historical development, advantages and disadvantages are discussed to elucidate the purposes for which the data can be used. The next part of the paper presents the verification results of this dataset. A representative sample of 444 offenders was selected and the court decisions for these cases were then requested and compared with the criminal court data. For most of the variables, the criminal court dataset matched the information in the court decision s. Systemic problems (especially regarding prior convictions) were only detected in a small number of variables. Finally, the study’s implications for the public, researchers and the Czech Ministry of Justice are discussed.

Keywords:
crime statistics; cour t statistics; quantitative sentencing; data; reliability

Authors:
Tomáš Vanča, Jakub Drápal

DOI:

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