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.

New York Drug Law Evaluation Project, 1973 (ICPSR 7656)

Principal Investigator(s):


This data collection contains the results of a study created in response to New York State's 1973 revision of its criminal laws relating to drug use. The Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the Drug Abuse Council jointly organized a joint committee and a research project to collect data, in a systematic fashion, (1) to ascertain the repercussions of the drug law revision, (2) to analyze, to the degree possible, why the law was revised, and (3) to identify any general principles or specific lessons that could be derived from the New York experience that could be helpful to other states as they dealt with the problem of illegal drug use and related crime. This data collection contains five files from the study. Part 1 contains information gathered in a survey investigating the effects of the 1973 predicate felony provisions on crime committed by repeat offenders. Data include sex, age at first arrest, county and year of sampled felony conviction, subsequent arrests up to December 1976, time between arrests, time incarcerated between arrests, and number and type of short-span arrests and incarcerations. Part 2 contains data gathered in a survey meant to estimate the number and proportion of felony crimes attributable to narcotics users in Manhattan. Case records for male defendants, aged 16 and older, who were arraigned on at least one felony charge in Manhattan's Criminal Court, in 1972 and 1975, were sampled. Data include original and reduced charges and penal code numbers, and indicators of first, second, third, and fourth drug status. Part 3 contains data gathered in a survey designed to estimate the number and proportion of felony crimes attributable to narcotics users in Manhattan. Case records for male defendants, aged 16 and older, who were arraigned on at least one felony charge in Manhattan's Criminal Court or Manhattan's Supreme Court, were sampled from 1971 through 1975. Eighty percent of the sample was drawn from the Criminal Court while the remaining 20 percent was taken from the Supreme Court. Data include date of arraignment, age, number of charges, penal code numbers for first six charges, bail information (e.g., if it was set, amount, and date bail made), disposition and sentence, indications of first through fourth drug status, first through third drug of abuse, and treatment status of defendant. Part 4 contains data gathered in a survey that determined the extent of knowledge of the 1973 drug law among ex-drug users in drug treatment programs, and to discover any changes in their behavior in response to the new law. Interviews were administered to non-randomly selected volunteers from three modalities: residential drug-free, ambulatory methadone maintenance, and the detoxification unit of the New York City House of Detention for Men. Data include sources of knowledge of drug laws (e.g., from media, subway posters, police, friends, dealers, and treatment programs), average length of sentence for various drug convictions, maximum sentence for such crimes, the pre-1974 sentence for such crimes, type of plea bargaining done, and respondent's opinion of the effects of the new law on police activity, the street, conviction rates, and drug use. Part 5 contains data from a survey that estimated the number and proportion of felony crimes attributable to narcotics users in Manhattan. Detained males aged 16 and older in Manhattan pre-trial detention centers who faced at least one current felony charge were sampled. Data include date of admission and discharge, drug status and charges, penal code numbers for first through sixth charge, bail information, and drug status and treatment.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.


DS1:  Predicate Felony File - Download All Files (4 MB)
DS2:  Charge Reduction Study File - Download All Files (4 MB)
DS3:  Criminal Court File - Download All Files (4.1 MB)
DS4:  Ex-Drug Users File - Download All Files (4.3 MB)
DS5:  Prison Detoxification Study File - Download All Files (4.5 MB)

Study Description


Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the Drug Abuse Council, Inc. NEW YORK DRUG LAW EVALUATION PROJECT, 1973. ICPSR ed. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 1980.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (76-NI-99-0115)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   convictions (law), courts, crime, crime control, crime prevention, criminal justice system, drug law offenses, drug laws, drug law enforcement, drug related crimes, drug use, evaluation, legislation, legislative impact, sentencing, New York (state), New York City, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1973

Universe:   Ex-drug users, repeat offenders, and male defendants aged 16 or older in the criminal court system and in pre-trial detention centers in New York City between the years 1971 and 1976.

Data Types:   survey data, and administrative records data


Sample:   Part 1: Two random samples were taken for the study. One consisted of randomly selected days between October 1970 and September, 1971. The other sample consisted of randomly selected days between October 1972 and September 1973. For each selected day, all cases in which a person had been convicted of a non-drug felony and given a non-incarceration sentence were selected. All information about the offender was noted. This information was then given to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DJCS). The DJCS traced the criminal histories of each offender through December 1976. Only cases in which "rap sheets" (criminal histories) were found were used. Part 2: Two small samples of approximately 225 cases in each of two time periods, one pre-law (January 1972 through June 1973), and one post-law (July 1974 through December 1975), were drawn to determine the user/non-user composition of this group of felony charges which were reduced or dismissed at first arraignment. In addition, two samples of approximately 240 cases each were randomly selected from the population of felony cases entering criminal court arraignment. Two time periods were sampled: one a pre-law period, January 1972-June 1973, and the second a post-law period, July 1974-December 1975. The results from the two samples made it possible to derive the overall rates at which felonies are reduced to misdemeanors or dismissed at criminal court arraignment. Part 3: In order to correct the charge distribution by user status from the pre-trial detention population, a sample of cases was gathered in the Supreme and Criminal Courts of Manhattan from all cases showing up in detention flow. In order to match the cases from detention, only felony cases surviving arraignment were selected. The sample was divided between Supreme Court cases and criminal court felony cases surviving arraignment. Since 20 percent of all felony arrests result in indictment, the sample was stratified: 20 percent Supreme Court and 80 percent Criminal Court. In two 15-month time periods, one pre-law period (January 1972-March 1973), and one post-law period (October 1974-December 1975), 901 cases were sampled. Part 4: For the study, 45-minute interviews were conducted with a non-random selection of 291 volunteers among clients in drug treatment programs in New York City. Three modalities of treatment are represented: residential drug-free, ambulatory methadone maintenance, and the detoxification unit of the New York City House of Detention for Men. Part 5: The sample was limited to Manhattan, and restricted to the male detention population, the contention being that males commit a majority of the felonies. A random sample was taken of over 500 felony cases per year for the years 1971-1975 from the Department of Corrections records kept on all defendants detained. The sample was stratified as follows: adolescent males constituted 20 percent of the sample, and adult males 80 percent. In sampling the prison records, misdemeanor cases and records of sentenced prisoners transferred to the detention facilities for work assignments were excluded. All records of persons detained on felony charges were included in the sample, including the group of prisoners who spent only a few hours in detention.

Data Source:

(1) personal interviews, (2) criminal history records, (3) Manhattan Supreme and Criminal Court case records, and (3) New York State Department of Corrections records

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.


Original ICPSR Release:  

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