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.

White-Collar Criminal Careers, 1976-1978: Federal Judicial Districts (ICPSR 6540)

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study examined the criminal careers of 1,331 offenders convicted of white-collar crimes in the United States District Courts to assess the relative effectiveness of court-imposed prison sanctions in preventing or modifying future criminal behavior. The white-collar crime event that was the central focus of this study, the "criterion" offense, provided the standard point of entry for sample members. Researchers for this study supplemented the data collected by Wheeler et al. in their 1988 study (NATURE AND SANCTIONING OF WHITE COLLAR CRIME, 1976-1978: FEDERAL JUDICIAL DISTRICTS [ICPSR 8989]) with criminal history data subsequent to the criterion offense through to 1990. As in the 1988 study, white-collar crime was considered to include economic offenses committed through the use of some combination of fraud, deception, or collusion. Eight federal offenses were examined: antitrust, securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, false claims and statements, credit fraud, bank embezzlement, income tax fraud, and bribery. Arrests were chosen as the major measure of criminal conduct. The data contain information coded from Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history records ("rap sheets") for a set of offenders convicted of white-collar crimes in federal courts in fiscal years 1976 to 1978. The seven federal judicial districts from which the sample was drawn were central California, northern Georgia, northern Illinois, Maryland, southern New York, northern Texas, and western Washington. To correct for a bias that can be introduced when desistance from criminality is confused with the death of the offender, the researchers examined the National Death Index (NDI) data to identify offenders who had died between the date of sentencing for the criterion offense and when data collection began for this study in 1990. This data collection contains three types of records. The first record type (Part 1, Summary Data) contains summary and descriptive information about the offender's rap sheet as a whole. Variables include dates of first entry and last entry on the rap sheet, number of separate crimes on the rap sheet, whether the criterion crime was listed on the rap sheet, whether the rap sheet listed crimes prior to or subsequent to the criterion crime, and date of death of offender. The second and third record types are provided in one data file (Part 2, Event and Event Interim Data). The second record type contains information about each crime event on the rap sheet. Variables include custody status of offender at arrest, type of arresting agency, state of arrest, date of arrest, number of charges for each arrest, number of charges resulting in no formal charges filed, number of charges dismissed, number of charges for white-collar crimes, type of sanction, length of definite sentence, probation sentence, and suspended probation sentence, amount of fines, amount of court costs, and restitution ordered, first, second, and third offense charged, arrest and court disposition for each charge, and date of disposition. The third record type contains information about the interim period between events or between the final event and the end of the follow-up period. Variables include date of first, second, and third incarceration, date discharged or transferred from each incarceration, custody/supervision status at each incarceration, total number of prisons, jails, or other institutions resided in during the interval, final custody/supervision status and date discharged from incarceration for the interval, dates parole and probation started and expired, if parole or probation terms were changed or completed, amount of fines, court costs, and restitution paid, whether the conviction was overturned during the interval, and date the conviction was overturned. A single offender has as many of record types two and three as were needed to code the entire rap sheet.

Access Notes

  • One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the data. A login is required to apply for access. (How to apply.)

    Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Summary Data
Download:
No downloadable data files available.
DS2:  Event and Event Interim Data
Download:
No downloadable data files available.

Study Description

Citation

Weisburd, David, Elin Waring, and Ellen Chayet. WHITE-COLLAR CRIMINAL CAREERS, 1976-1978: FEDERAL JUDICIAL DISTRICTS. ICPSR version. Newark, NJ: Rutgers University [producer], 1995. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06540.v1

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (88-IJ-CX-0046)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   arrest records, career criminals, crime prevention, criminal histories, disposition (legal), imprisonment, offenders, prisons, sanctions, sentencing, white collar crime

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1976--1978

Date of Collection:  

  • 1990--1991

Unit of Observation:   Part 1: Individuals. Part 2: Crime events and time periods between events.

Universe:   Convicted white-collar criminals in federal judicial districts representing metropolitan centers -- specifically, central California, northern Georgia, northern Illinois, Maryland, southern New York, northern Texas, and western Washington.

Data Types:   event/transaction data

Data Collection Notes:

The user guide and codebooks are provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Website.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   The seriousness of white-collar crime and the damage caused by it is becoming increasingly apparent. Crime control theory, however, has typically ignored the white-collar offender because these offenders are generally portrayed as "one-shot criminals" who do not reoffend after their initial contact with the criminal justice system. Recent empirical studies instead show that those convicted of white-collar crimes are often repeat offenders. Despite these findings, virtually no empirical examination of the effects of sanctions on white-collar criminals has been conducted. This study examined the criminal careers of 1,331 offenders convicted of white-collar crimes in the United States District Courts. The data provide a detailed portrait of the offenders' criminal histories that allows the relative effectiveness of court-imposed prison sanctions in preventing or modifying future criminal behavior to be assessed. The following questions guided the research: (1) Who are the repeat criminals in a sample of convicted white-collar offenders and how are they different from street criminals or other white-collar criminals who do not reoffend? (2) How are their criminal careers similar to or different from offenders found in more traditional crime samples? (3) Can examination of the criminality of these offenders help to understand the dynamics that led to their initial or continued involvement in crime? (4) What is the impact of sanctions on white-collar criminal reoffending? and (5) What can be learned that can inform the debate about sentencing white-collar offenders, about deterrence theory, and potential backfire effects of punishment?

Study Design:   The white-collar crime event that was the central focus of this study, the "criterion" offense, provided the standard point of entry for sample members. Researchers for this study supplemented the data collected by Wheeler et al. in their 1988 study (NATURE AND SANCTIONING OF WHITE COLLAR CRIME, 1976-1978: FEDERAL JUDICIAL DISTRICTS [ICPSR 8989]) with criminal history data subsequent to the criterion offense through to 1990. As in the 1988 study, white-collar crime was considered to include economic offenses committed through the use of some combination of fraud, deception, or collusion. Eight federal offenses were examined: antitrust, securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, false claims and statements, credit fraud, bank embezzlement, income tax fraud, and bribery. Arrests were chosen as the major measure of criminal conduct. The data contain information coded from Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history records ("rap sheets") for a set of offenders convicted of white-collar crimes in federal courts in fiscal years 1976 to 1978. The seven federal judicial districts from which the sample was drawn were: central California, northern Georgia, northern Illinois, Maryland, southern New York, northern Texas, and western Washington. An extensive codebook was developed to record criminal history information from the rap sheets. The codebook underwent a number of revisions to accommodate the five different formats used for the FBI raps sheets and to allow the flexibility of recording a number of charges and an infinite number of arrests. To reduce error caused by complexities of the rap sheets (arrests without dispositions, prison terms without corresponding arrests, information not in chronological order, series of entries that actually comprised only a single crime), senior staff reviewed each rap sheet and delimited the events on the rap sheet according to specific criteria and knowledge of the criminal justice system. To correct for a bias that can be introduced when desistance from criminality is confused with the death of the offender, the researchers examined the National Death Index (NDI) data to identify offenders who had died between the date of sentencing for the criterion offense and when data collection began for this study in 1990.

Sample:   The sample was drawn from a 1988 study of white-collar criminals conducted by Wheeler, Weisburd, and Bode (NATURE AND SANCTIONING OF WHITE COLLAR CRIME, 1976-1978: FEDERAL JUDICIAL DISTRICTS [ICPSR 8989]).

Data Source:

(1) Pre-Sentence Investigation Reports (PSIs), (2) Federal Bureau of Investigation rap sheets, and (3) the National Death Index

Description of Variables:   This data collection contains three types of records. The first record type (Part 1, Summary Data) contains summary and descriptive information about the offender's rap sheet as a whole. Variables include dates of first entry and last entry on the rap sheet, number of separate crimes on the rap sheet, whether the criterion crime was listed on the rap sheet, whether the rap sheet listed crimes prior to or subsequent to the criterion crime, and date of death of offender. The second and third record types are provided in one data file (Part 2, Event and Event Interim Data). The second record type contains information about each crime event on the rap sheet. Variables include custody status of offender at arrest, type of arresting agency, state of arrest, date of arrest, number of charges for each arrest, number of charges resulting in no formal charges filed, number of charges dismissed, number of charges for white-collar crimes, type of sanction, length of definite sentence, probation sentence, and suspended probation sentence, amount of fines, amount of court costs, and restitution ordered, first, second, and third offense charged, arrest and court disposition for each charge, and date of disposition. The third record type contains information about the interim period between events or between the final event and the end of the follow-up period. Variables include date of first, second, and third incarceration, date discharged or transferred from each incarceration, custody/supervision status at each incarceration, total number of prisons, jails, or other institutions resided in during the interval, final custody/supervision status and date discharged from incarceration for the interval, dates parole and probation started and expired, if parole or probation terms were changed or completed, amount of fines, court costs, and restitution paid, whether the conviction was overturned during the interval, and date the conviction was overturned. A single offender has as many of record types two and three as were needed to code the entire rap sheet.

Response Rates:   Not applicable.

Presence of Common Scales:   None.

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:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-03-30 File CB6540.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.

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