Criminal Conviction Records in New York City (1980-2019)

In this report, the Data Collaborative for Justice (DCJ) presents analyses on criminal convictions in New York City from 1980 through 2019, using data provided by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. DCJ presents the number of criminal convictions that have accumulated over the course of these four decades, broken down by charge severity (i.e., misdemeanor vs. felony), charge type (e.g., drug charges or property-related charges) and demographics (i.e., race/ethnicity, sex, and age). DCJ also documents the number of individuals who have criminal convictions on their records, including the race/ethnicity, sex, and age of people with conviction records. Finally, DCJ analyzes individuals’ conviction records to assess how long ago these convictions occurred and the number and type of charges that make up conviction records.

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Select Key Findings

In New York City, between 1980 and 2019:

  • Police made nearly 11 million arrests, resulting in approximately 3.3 million criminal convictions and the creation of criminal convictions records for 745,924 individuals.
  • Almost 80% of people with criminal conviction records are Black or Latinx (~400,000 people). (Note: reliable race data is only available for 1990-2019).
  • 42% of people with criminal records had only one conviction on their record (~315,000 people) and an additional 16% have two convictions (~120,000 people).
  • ~77% of criminal convictions were for misdemeanors (2,575,639 misdemeanor convictions).
  • Drug convictions account for almost one third of misdemeanor and felony criminal convictions (1,108,209 convictions).
  • Almost 15% of people with criminal records have only drug convictions on their records (~111,000 people).
  • Almost two-thirds of people with convictions have not had a new conviction for over 10 years (~477,000 people).