November-December 2009 Issue • Volume 37 • Issue 8

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Science Policy

Sociologist nominated to the
Bureau of Justice Statistics

scienceOn October 26, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate James P. Lynch the Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), Department of Justice. Lynch is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at John Jay College, City University of New York. He was previously a professor in the Department of Justice, Law, and Society at American University from 1986 to 2005 and chair of the Department from 2003 to 2005. Lynch is currently the Vice President-elect of the American Society of Criminology (ASC). He has served on the Committee on Law and Justice Statistics of the American Statistical Association and as a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel evaluating the programs of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. In addition, he has published three books and numerous articles on crime statistics, victimization surveys, victimization risk, and the role of sanctions in social control and is also co-editor of the Journal of Quantitative Criminology. He received his BA from Wesleyan University and his MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago. The mission of BJS is to collect, analyze, publish, and disseminate information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government. These data are critical to federal, state, and local policymakers in combating crime and ensuring that justice is both efficient and evenhanded.

Census Bureau releases
alternative U.S. poverty estimate

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released alternative estimates of poverty for the 2008 calendar year. The Bureau’s calculations are based on recommendations in the 1995 National Research Council report, Measuring Poverty: A New Approach. Using the report’s revised definitions, the Census Bureau calculated a higher rate of poverty (15.8 percent) than the Bureau’s official annual estimate (13.2 percent). 

More from the Census Bureau

The Census Bureau has launched its new 2010 Census website at The site is a useful resource for social science or research organizations. The 2010 website seeks to serve as "the platform on which we can build a national dialogue about how each person’s participation helps paint a new ‘Portrait of America.’" The multimedia website shares peoples’ stories about how the census is easy, safe, and important. It features an audio of real people from all walks of life and from communities across America express their questions about the Census and get real answers. Also, the site clarifies the truth behind census myths, explains the U.S. Census and walks visitors through the 10 questions on the form that households will receive next spring, and provides information on key census dates. logo


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