No politics in bureau's data

The article "Attorney General To Leave Justice Department Amid Mixed Reviews," June 7, infers that political considerations may impede the accurate reporting of crime statistics by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). This is simply wrong. Data collection for BJS reports is performed by outside agencies, primarily the Bureau of the Census, and the data are made available nationally to universities and researchers through a computer network and consortium at the University of Michigan. BJS trains and funds outside researchers to analyze the data independently for their own interests and purposes. Similarly, BJS publications (almost 1 million copies annually) are disseminated free of charge through a nongovernmental national clearinghouse that provides professional and individualized reference services. BJS press releases and findings also are reported regularly in the national media. The statistical analyses produced by the career professional staff of BJS are regarded as the world's best and are relied upon by the nation's policymakers, courts, criminal justice officials, and the public. Sacrifices in the quality and accuracy of crime statistics for reason of "political spin" do not occur and are not tolerated. Steven D. Dillingham, Washington, Director, Bureau of Justice Statistics

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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