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Enhancement of the Bureau of Justice Statistics' Annual Probation Survey Frame

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2021
85 pages

This report presents the findings and processes of a project with the goal of improving the survey frame and thus the estimates of the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS’s) Annual Probation Survey (APS).


The BJS’s Annual Surveys of Probation and Parole (ASPP) provide the only state and national estimates of the probation and parole populations. The ASPP has been providing longitudinal statistics on probation and parole populations since 1979 and 1980, respectively, which include estimates of the size, composition, outcomes, and entries and exits of state and federal probation and parole populations. The current report indicates that APS data in most states are reported by one or two respondents that report for numerous agencies and courts across their respective states. For other states, the APS collects data from dozens of respondents that report on their respective local populations.  The current project to improve estimates of the APS studied alternative longitudinal imputation methods, made changes to survey instruments, and met regularly with probation stakeholders to assess key aspects of the APS survey design and methods. The current report details one of the studies to improve APS data quality by examining the survey frame to ensure that data are being collected from all probation agencies and courts that supervise active probation cases. The study of the current APS frame identified 354 agencies and courts that supervise active probation cases but are currently not included in the APS frame. The total combined probation population estimated by these 354 agencies and courts is approximately 161,525 adults, or 4 percent of the national population. These agencies will be included in the RY2020 APS. 20 tables and 7 figures