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2024 Census of Tribal Court Systems

The 2024 Census of Tribal Court Systems (2024 CTCS), conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the principal statistical agency for the U.S. Department of Justice, will collect information from all tribal court systems serving federally recognized tribes. This collection will provide tribal, federal, state, and local governments with current crime and justice data to inform policymaking and support safer communities.

BJS is working with National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC), the National American Indian Court Judges Association (NAICJA), and the Tribal Law and Policy Institute (TLPI) on the 2024 CTCS.

Working with tribal communities to develop the CTCS

NORC, NAICJA, and TLPI will host a series of webinars to hear from tribal leaders and the tribal justice community to seek valuable input on data gaps and needs. A panel of tribal justice experts, the tribal justice panel, will also inform development of the CTCS and data collection protocols.

The goal of the CTCS is to provide information to tribal justice agencies, state and local agencies, policymakers, and the public about the different types of tribal court systems in operation and the services they provide.

What data will the CTCS collect?

The 2024 CTCS will collect information about tribal court systems on:

  • administrative structure and jurisdiction
  • staffing and budgets
  • types of cases filed and closed
  • programs and services.

The CTCS will help in understanding the different types of courts serving tribal communities. The survey will also ask questions recommended by tribal leaders and tribal justice experts, including a tribal justice panel.

Why is the CTCS important?

This CTCS data collection effort will allow tribes to share information on their tribal court systems, examine the impact of recent changes in legislation and examine emerging criminal justice issues. The results of the CTCS survey will provide valuable information by:

  • filling in data needs identified by tribal leaders and tribal justice experts
  • providing updated data to measure changes in tribal court systems and their program functions
  • helping tribal court systems measure their functions and work activity to help secure funding
  • identifying the resources and training needs of tribal court systems.

When will data collection begin?

BJS anticipates that data collection for the tribal court systems will begin in Spring 2025, and participants will be asked questions pertaining to calendar year 2024.

Where can I find the results from previous tribal courts collections?

This collection is a follow-up to the 2014 National Survey of Tribal Court Systems. Tribal Court Systems in the United States, 2014, was released in July 2021. The report from the 2014 CTCS is available on the BJS website at: https://bjs.ojp.gov/library/publications/tribal-court s-united-states-2014-statistical-tables.

How can you contact us?

If you have questions regarding CTCS data collection, please contact NORC at CTCS@norc.org or BJS at askbjs@ojp.usdoj.gov.

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