Where do criminal justice data live in your state?
Criminal History Data
The Department of Public Safety maintains the Arkansas Criminal Information Center (ACIC). The ACIC maintains the state’s criminal history repository. With the exception of certain crime statistics, data from the ACIC is not publicly available. However, the information remains accessible by governmental criminal justice officials and agencies across the state.
Arkansas’s court data is stored centrally and maintained by the Office of Research and Justice Statistics (ORJS), housed within the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). The ORJS is the state office tasked with leading the Arkansas Judiciary’s data efforts. The ORJS works to improve data quality through a number of venues, including the Arkansas State Court Guide to Statistical Reporting, which aims to ensure accurate data reporting from district and circuit courts. While every circuit court is included in the centralized system, the case information available varies by county, with some counties reporting only partial data. A minority of district courts report case information centrally, and even among those courts the information reported varies by department. The ORJS generates research reports for courts throughout the state and fulfills data requests for researchers interested in using court data. Additionally, the ORJS creates annual reports and makes them available via a public, interactive dashboard so that the users can filter by issue area (i.e., civil, criminal, domestic, juvenile, or probate), judicial circuit and/or county, and start/end date.
The Arkansas Department of Corrections records information related to individuals in ADC custody, and the Arkansas Administrative Regulation 804 governs the release of this information to the public. Based on MFJ’s research and conversations as of April 2020, the ADC has not established an official process for requesting data or ADC records in bulk. Additionally, the Arkansas Sentencing Commission, housed within the ADC, maintains certain other individual-level data, generated from sentencing orders. MFJ’s discussions with the ADC indicate that this data includes the same elements as that housed by the ORJS.
Other Known Data Sources
In addition to these consolidated databases, each locality collects its own data to some extent. These include 75 sheriffs’ offices and 28 district prosecuting attorneys each covering at least one of Arkansas’s 75 counties. As of 2008, there are 252 local police departments throughout Arkansas that employ at least one full-time officer, each collecting its own arrest data to some extent. While each prosecuting attorney is free to implement their own system, the Arkansas Prosecutor Coordinator’s Office developed and made available an in-house program, which as of 2013 was used in 43/75 counties. Even still, the database is decentralized and data is stored locally at each office using the program.