Congress passed the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, Declaring that “crime is a local problem that demands local solutions.” The legislation created the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) and tasked it with providing funds to states to improve the criminal justice system.
The National Criminal Justice Information and Statistics Service (NCJISS) was established under LEAA to collect, evaluate, publish, and disseminate statistics and other information on law enforcement. The service began operating in 1970; in 1972, it announced the founding of the Comprehensive Data Systems (CDS) program. Under the CDS program, states received federal funding for several purposes, including establishing Statistical Analysis Centers as the nucleus for coordinating each state’s criminal justice system and statistics activities. Later that year, seven states established SACs, and three existing statistical agencies became officially designated as Statistical Analysis Centers.
The SACs created the Criminal Justice Statistics Association (CJSA) to promote the exchange of information among the SACs enabling them to work together toward common goals and to serve as a liaison between the state agencies and the Justice Department. By 1976, the Association was incorporated as a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization, and 34 states and the District of Columbia had Statistical Analysis Centers. Upon termination of LEAA in 1980, 41 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, had SACs. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), established in 1979, took over the Federal role in funding SAC research and statistics activities. However, BJS funds did not fully support the SACs. Many states had already begun to fully or partially fund their SACs, whose primary role is to collect, analyze, and disseminate policy-relevant data for state decision-makers. BJS provided funds for the SACs under the State Justice.
CJSA changed its name to the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA) to better reflect the expansion of roles over the years on the part of both the SACs and the Association.
JRSA changed its name to the Justice Information Resource Network (JIRN) to better highlight the information resources available to members of the criminal justice community.