National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Survey of Prosecutorial Response to Bias-Motivated Crime in the United States, 1994-1995 (ICPSR 3009) RSS

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Summary:

This national survey of prosecutors was undertaken to systematically gather information about the handling of bias or hate crime prosecutions in the United States. The goal was to use this information to identify needs and to enhance the ability of prosecutors to respond effectively to hate crimes by promoting effective practices. The survey aimed to address the following research questions: (1) What was the present level of bias crime prosecution in the United States? (2) What training had been provided to prosecutors to assist them in prosecuting hate- and bias-motivated crimes and what additional training would be beneficial? (3) What types of bias offenses were prosecuted in 1994-1995? (4) How were bias crime cases assigned and to what extent were bias crime cases given priority? and (5) What factors or issues inhibited a prosecutor's ability to prosecute bias crimes? In 1995, a national mail survey was sent to a stratified sample of prosecutor offices in three phases to solicit information about prosecutors' experiences with hate crimes. Questions were asked about size of jurisdiction, number of full-time staff, number of prosecutors and investigators assigned to bias crimes, and number of bias cases prosecuted. Additional questions measured training for bias-motivated crimes, such as whether staff received specialized training, whether there existed a written policy on bias crimes, how well prosecutors knew the bias statute, and whether there was a handbook on bias crime. Information elicited on case processing included the frequency with which certain criminal acts were charged and sentenced as bias crimes, the existence of a special bias unit, case tracking systems, preparation of witnesses, jury selection, and case disposition. Other topics specifically covered bias related to racial or ethnic differences, religious differences, sexual orientation, and violence against women.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

Dataset - Download All Files (1.3 MB)

Study Description

Citation

Sigmon, Jane Nady, and Donald Rebovich. Survey of Prosecutorial Response to Bias-Motivated Crime in the United States, 1994-1995. ICPSR03009-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03009.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (95-IJ-CX-0004)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   case processing, disposition (legal), hate crimes, judicial process, prosecuting attorneys, prosecution, training

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1994--1995

Date of Collection:  

  • 1995

Unit of Observation:   Individuals.

Universe:   All prosecutor offices in the United States.

Data Types:   survey data

Methodology

Study Purpose:   Throughout the 1990s, increased attention was focused on the enforcement of hate crime statutes. However, little research was done regarding the nature of the hate crimes that were referred for prosecution and the experience of the prosecutors with such cases. To fill this information gap, a national survey of prosecutors was conducted. The purpose of the study was to systematically gather information about the handling of bias crime prosecutions in the United States. The goal was to use this information to identify needs and to enhance the ability of prosecutors to respond effectively to hate crimes by promoting effective practices. The survey aimed to address the following research questions: (1) What was the present level of bias crime prosecution in the United States? (2) What training had been provided to prosecutors to assist them in prosecuting hate- and bias-motivated crimes and what additional training would be beneficial? (3) What types of bias offenses were prosecuted in 1994-1995? (4) How were bias crime cases assigned and to what extent were bias crime cases given priority? and (5) What factors or issues inhibited a prosecutor's ability to prosecute bias crimes?

Study Design:   In 1995, a national mail survey was sent to a stratified sample of prosecutor offices in three phases to solicit information about prosecutors' experiences with hate crimes. The survey was initially sent to all prosecutor offices in the sample. To increase the response rate, a follow-up mailing of the survey was sent to offices that did not respond. A third mailing was sent to nonresponding offices to obtain information about why they had not completed the survey. The prosecutor survey administered in the first and second mailings was arranged into the following seven sections: (1) background information, (2) case management, (3) case screening and charging, (4) trials, (5) sentencing, (6) victim support programs, and (7) recommendations for improving hate crime statute provisions and enforcement.

Sample:   Disproportionate stratified sampling.

Data Source:

mailback questionnaires

Description of Variables:   Background variables include size of jurisdiction, number of full-time staff, number of prosecutors and investigators assigned to bias crimes, and number of bias cases prosecuted. Additional variables measure training for bias-motivated crimes, such as whether staff received specialized training, whether there existed a written policy on bias crimes, how well prosecutors knew the bias statute, and whether there was a handbook on bias crime. Case management variables include the frequency with which certain criminal acts were charged and sentenced as bias crimes, the existence of a special bias unit, case tracking systems, witness preparation, jury selection, and case disposition. Other variables specifically cover bias related to racial or ethnic differences, religious differences, sexual orientation, and violence against women.

Response Rates:   For the original survey, 187 prosecutor offices responded and 153 of these surveys contained information to be analyzed, for an initial response rate of 24 percent. However, an additional 155 prosecutor offices (20 percent of the sample offices) responded to the final mailing to determine why these offices did not respond to the initial survey. In sum, a total of 342 prosecutor offices responded, resulting in an overall response rate for all prosecutor offices selected for this study of 43 percent.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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