Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS)

Detailed information for 2014-2015

Status:

Active

Frequency:

Annual

Record number:

3312

The objective of the Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) is to develop and maintain a national database of statistical information on appearances, charges, and cases in youth courts and adult criminal courts. The survey is intended to be a census of pending and completed federal statute charges heard in provincial-territorial and superior courts in Canada. Appeal courts, federal courts (e.g., Tax Court of Canada) and the Supreme Court of Canada are not covered by the survey.

Data release - September 29, 2016

Description

The objective of the Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) is to develop and maintain a national database of statistical information on appearances, charges, and cases in youth courts and adult criminal courts. The survey is intended to be a census of pending and completed federal statute charges heard in provincial-territorial and superior courts in Canada. Appeal courts, federal courts (e.g., Tax Court of Canada) and the Supreme Court of Canada are not covered by the survey.

The survey includes information on the age and sex of the accused, case decisions, sentencing information regarding the length of prison and probation, and amount of fine, as well as case-processing indicators such as case elapsed time. These survey data are collected by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) in collaboration with provincial and territorial government departments responsible for criminal courts. The collection of data is from administrative records, in which data are derived from records originally kept for non-statistical purposes. The data are collected to respond to the needs of the provincial, territorial and federal departments of justice and attorneys-general, researchers and policy analysts, academics and the media, as well as to inform the public on how youths and adults appearing in provincial-territorial and superior criminal courts are dealt with in Canada.

The Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) is an annual administrative data survey that was implemented to replace two previous micro-data surveys: the Adult Criminal Court Survey (ACCS, see legacy versions of record number 3312) and the Youth Court Survey (YCS, see record number 3309). The purpose of redevelopment was to collect new information related to the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). At the same time, it was an opportunity to integrate data collection and processing, implement a snapshot data collection strategy (collect appearances as they occurred rather than once the case was completed), and change survey definitions to more closely reflect court processing.

Statistical activity

The survey is currently administered as part of the National Justice Statistics Initiative (NJSI). Since 1981, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Deputy Ministers responsible for the administration of justice in Canada, with the Chief Statistician, have been working together in an enterprise known as the National Justice Statistics Initiative. The mandate of the NJSI is to provide information to the justice community as well as the public on criminal and civil justice in Canada. Although this responsibility is shared among Federal, Provincial and Territorial departments, the lead responsibility for the development of Canada's statistical system remains with Statistics Canada.

The survey is currently administered as part of the Courts Program. The objective of the Courts Program is to collect and disseminate information on the operation of the court system in Canada.

Reference period: Fiscal year (April 1 to March 31)

Collection period: August through July

Subjects

  • Children and youth
  • Crime and justice
  • Crime and justice (youth)
  • Criminal courts

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The objective of the Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) is to develop and maintain a national database of statistical information on appearances, charges, and cases in youth courts and adult criminal courts. The survey is intended to be a census of pending and completed federal statute charges heard in provincial-territorial and superior courts in Canada. Appeal courts, federal courts (e.g., Tax Court of Canada) and the Supreme Court of Canada are not covered by the survey.

The adult component of the survey includes persons aged 18 years or older at the time of the offence and companies.

The youth component of the survey includes persons aged 12 to 17 years old at the time of the offence and companies.

Instrument design

Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) data collection tools and data requirements were developed with the assistance of representatives from provincial and territorial departments responsible for youth courts and adult criminal courts in Canada.

Micro-data are extracted electronically from administrative databases by means of a software interface and submitted to Statistics Canada in an electronic format. Prior to data collection commencing, these interfaces are extensively tested to ensure the required data standards are met. Computer-aided data collection techniques are not used other than local programming used to extract administrative data from information systems.

Sampling

This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore no sampling is done.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2014-08-01 to 2015-07-31

Data are extracted from administrative files.

Collection method:
Micro-data are extracted electronically from administrative databases by means of a software interface and submitted to Statistics Canada in an electronic format. Prior to data collection commencing, these interfaces are extensively tested to ensure the required data standards are met. Computer-aided data collection techniques are not used other than local programming used to extract administrative data from information systems.

Capture method:
Data from court dockets are data captured into provincial and territorial automated operational systems. Data are then transferred into automated information system files within the jurisdiction.

Computer interfaces are developed that map survey concepts to the information system of each participating province or territory. Only the in-scope data are then electronically pulled off the system as microdata. These data files are forwarded to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) electronically according to a reporting schedule.

Follow-up method:
Every year, a data quality report and a set of verification tables are sent to reporting jurisdictions for their review and verification prior to release. These reports also highlight problems, if any, that were observed during analysis of the data, and include an historical trend analysis of the main indicators, such as number of cases by type of decision.

Languages offered to potential respondents:
English and French

The Integrated Criminal Court Survey draws on information from the administrative databases in operation in the youth and adult criminal courts in the provinces and territories. The data have been obtained under section 13 of the Statistics Act.

The survey is currently administered as part of the National Justice Statistics Initiative (NJSI). Since 1981, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Deputy Ministers responsible for the administration of justice in Canada, with the Chief Statistician, have been working together in an enterprise known as the National Justice Statistics Initiative. The mandate of the NJSI is to provide information to the justice community as well as the public on criminal and civil justice in Canada. Although this responsibility is shared among Federal, Provincial and Territorial departments, the lead responsibility for the development of Canada's statistical system remains with Statistics Canada.

The objective of the Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) is to develop and maintain a national database of statistical information on appearances, charges, and cases in youth courts and adult criminal courts. The survey is intended to be a census of pending and completed federal statute charges heard in provincial-territorial and superior courts in Canada.

Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) data collection tools and data requirements were developed with the assistance of representatives from provincial and territorial departments responsible for youth courts and adult criminal courts in Canada.

Record linkage has been conducted with the ICCS and the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey to examine topics such as impaired driving, intimate partner violence, drug-related offences and sexual offences.

Error detection

The ICCS central processing system contains an automated edit module that examines all incoming data for format and consistency.

Imputation

Field values that do not meet edit specifications or are out of range are deemed to be 'not available' and are re-coded accordingly such that processing may continue. Imputations such as donor imputation are not performed.

Records that are missing key fields (province or territory, court location, information number, accused identifier, charge sequence number, and court appearance date) are rejected.

Estimation

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

The incoming data are assessed for consistency and completeness. Every year, a data quality report and a set of verification tables are sent to reporting jurisdictions for their review and verification prior to release. These reports also highlight problems, if any, that were observed during analysis of the data, and include an historical trend analysis of the main indicators, such as number of cases by type of decision.

The products from this survey are subject to both institutional and peer review (justice departments, etc.).

Data assessment activities are regularly undertaken by both the provinces/territories and the CCJS to monitor data quality and to provide direction for any modifications where data quality problems are identified. The data are subjected to year-to-year comparisons. Comparisons are made between the survey data and figures contained in the provincial/territorial reports of court operational or case management systems.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Preliminary results are not released or available to the public. They are simply used for verification purposes and for draft CCJS reports.

CCJS has a policy of not releasing any tables or cross-tabs that may identify a particular individual.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data accuracy

A number of tools have been developed for the ICCS to minimize or correct errors.

System error may be introduced during the extraction and transcription of provincial or territorial data into ICCS format. The CCJS minimized this source of error by implementing a standard interface development methodology that requires a complete testing of the software by both the CCJS and the province or territory prior to implementation.

To ensure system error is not introduced by the ICCS data processing systems, the systems were subject to logic testing by the developer, user acceptance testing performed by the CCJS and/or the Methodology Division of Statistics Canada, and volume testing performed by the system developer.

Coverage for the Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) varies over time and is not the same for both the adult and youth components of the survey. Adult criminal court coverage dates back to 1994/1995 for eight jurisdictions (excluding New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut) and back to 2000/2001 for ten jurisdictions (excluding Manitoba, Northwest Territories and Nunavut). This coverage limitation should be considered by analysts and researchers when doing any adult criminal court trend analysis.

As of 2005/2006, all provincial and territorial (adult criminal) courts in 10 provinces and 3 territories reported to the survey. However, information from superior courts in Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan as well as municipal courts in Quebec was not available for extraction from their electronic reporting systems and was therefore not reported to the survey. It is important to note that the absence of data from superior courts in these four jurisdictions may result in a slight underestimation of the severity of sentences since some of the most serious cases (e.g., homicide, sexual assault) which are likely to result in the most severe sanctions, are processed in superior courts. There may also be a slight underestimation of case elapsed times as more serious cases generally require more court appearances and take more time to complete.

All youth courts in Canada have reported to the survey since the 1991/1992 fiscal year. Data collected from the youth component of the ICCS represent persons aged 12 to 17 years at the time of the offence.

Additional coverage limitations that may impact the interpretation of ICCS data include:

i) The transition from the legacy Adult Criminal Court Survey (ACCS) or Youth Court Survey (YCS) to the ICCS occurred at different times in various jurisdictions. The transition had an impact on some of the statistics (e.g., appearance counts, case elapsed times).

ii) Information from Quebec`s provincial courts is still reported to CCJS using the Adult Criminal Court Survey (ACCS) National Data Requirements (NDR), rather than the Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) NDR. These data are converted to the ICCS format, to the extent possible, during data processing activities. This reporting limitation results in a lack of data on conditional sentences, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) offences and has an impact on measures of case elapsed time.

iii) Under-coverage (missing variables and/or variable values, appearances, charges and cases that should have been reported to the survey) must be considered by the users of ICCS data. Although the impact of under-coverage is unknown, it must be put forward as a factor to explain some variability in the current profiles of criminal court data within each jurisdiction and across Canada, and possibly long-term trends.

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