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.

Criminal Careers of Juveniles in New York City, 1977-1983 (ICPSR 9986) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This longitudinal study of juvenile offenders traces the criminal histories of a sample of juveniles, including those who were "dropouts" (juvenile offenders who did not go on to become adult criminal offenders) and those who continued to be arrested, ranging from those with only one subsequent arrest to "persisters" (juveniles who did become career criminal offenders). The data are intended to address the following questions: (1) Are serious juvenile offenders more likely than nonserious juvenile offenders to become adult offenders? (2) Are offenders who begin at a younger age more likely to have more serious criminal careers than those who begin when they are older? (3) As a criminal career progresses, will the offender become more skilled at one type of offense and commit that type of crime more frequently, while decreasing the frequency of other types of crimes? (4) As a criminal career continues, will the offender commit progressively more serious offenses? (5) How well can it be predicted who will become a high-rate offender? Part 1 of this study, Juvenile Case File, contains data on a subsample of 14- and 15-year-olds who were brought to Probation Intake in the New York City Family Court for delinquency offenses. Included are variables for the date and type of arrest, disposition and sentence of the offender, and sex and race of the offender, as well as questions concerning the offender's home environment and highest school grade completed. Part 2, Arrest and Incarceration Event File, includes information on prior delinquency arrests, including the date of arrest, the charge and severity, and the disposition and sentence, as well as similar information on subsequent offenses that occurred up to six years after the original delinquency offense. Included for each incarceration is the status of the offender (juvenile or adult), the date of admission to a facility, and the length of time incarcerated.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS1:  Juvenile Case File - Download All Files (1,035 KB)
Documentation:
Data:
DS2:  Arrest and Incarceration Event File - Download All Files (998 KB)
Documentation:
Data:

Study Description

Citation

Winterfield, Laura A. CRIMINAL CAREERS OF JUVENILES IN NEW YORK CITY, 1977-1983. 2nd ICPSR version. New York, NY: Vera Institute of Justice [producer], 1986. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999. doi:10.3886/ICPSR09986.v2

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Export Citation:

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (83-IJ-CX-0004)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   career criminals, criminality prediction, criminal histories, delinquent behavior, ex-offenders, juvenile offenders, juvenile recidivists, recidivism prediction

Geographic Coverage:   New York City, New York (state), United States

Time Period:  

  • 1977-04--1983-09

Date of Collection:  

  • 1977--1986

Unit of Observation:   Individuals.

Universe:   Juveniles at ages 14 and 15 who had been referred by police to Probation Intake in the New York City Family Court as a result of arrest on delinquency charges.

Data Types:   administrative records data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) Part 2 is a hierarchical data file, in which the number of records for each individual depends on the number of subsequent arrests and incarcerations he/she experienced. The file contains records of 1,082 juvenile arrests, 4,119 adult arrests, and 1,191 incarcerations across 1,267 individuals. Each record in the file is identified by the variables RECTYPE and INDICAT. The variable RECTYPE indicates whether the record is a header record (there are two header records per case), an arrest record, or an incarceration record. The variable INDICAT marks whether the data on the record refer to an event that took place when the offender was a juvenile or an adult. The unit of analysis in Part 2 depends on how the user reads in the data. If the user reads in only the first two header records, the individual offender becomes the unit of analysis. If the user reads in only arrest records or only incarceration records, the arrest event or the incarceration event becomes the unit of analysis. Since both Parts 1 and 2 contain a common identifier, data from the two files can be merged. (2) The codebooks for this collection are provided as Portable Document Format (PDF) files. 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 through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   This longitudinal study of juvenile offenders traces the criminal histories of a sample of juveniles, including those who were "dropouts" (juvenile offenders who did not go on to become adult criminal offenders) and those who continued to be arrested, ranging from those with only one subsequent arrest to "persisters" (juveniles who did become career criminal offenders). Much of the research attempting to examine the links between chronic adult offenders and the frequency and severity of juvenile criminality has been retrospective in nature. In such studies, criminal history and other background factors about subjects who have already committed crimes are examined. Predictive factors are assessed by looking backward. However, this type of research provides no information on those juvenile offenders who did not go on to be severe, repeat adult offenders. To predict future criminality correctly, both types of offenders ("dropouts" as well as "persisters") must be part of the analysis. To address this concern, the investigators conducted a prospective study, providing longitudinal arrest data on a sample of juvenile offenders. The data address the following questions: (1) Are serious juvenile offenders more likely than nonserious juvenile offenders to become adult offenders? (2) Are offenders who begin at a younger age more likely to have more serious criminal careers than those who begin when they are older? (3) As a criminal career progresses, will the offender become more skilled at one type of offense and commit that type of crime more frequently, while decreasing the frequency of other types of crimes? (4) As a criminal career progresses, will the offender commit progressively more serious offenses? (5) How well can high-rate offenders be predicted?

Study Design:   This study employed a longitudinal prospective design. The investigators randomly selected 14- and 15-year-olds who were referred by police to Probation Intake in the New York City Family Court as a result of an arrest on delinquency charges. This group was followed until September 1983 (up to six years of follow-up). All subsequent arrests, dispositions, and incarcerations, both juvenile and adult, were recorded during this portion of data collection. A great deal of attention was focused on gathering data from various sources and organizing these data into a useful database. The investigators collected a large portion of data from the Family Court Disposition Study (FCDS). The investigators used the FCDS as the pool from which the sample was selected and as a source of data about juveniles' prior criminal history and current court case. In addition, the researchers extracted data about subsequent juvenile contacts with the criminal justice system from the Probation Department files and the Police Department arrest files. The investigators also obtained data regarding the sample's later contacts with the criminal justice system from three existing official record systems, the New York City Criminal Justice Agency (CJA), the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), and the Office of Court Administration (OCA).

Sample:   The sample was originally drawn by the Vera Institute of Justice's Family Court Disposition Study (FCDS). The FCDS randomly sampled one of ten juvenile delinquency cases appearing at Probation Intake in the New York City Family Court during a one-year period, and one in six of all status offense cases. The present study selected a subsample from the FCDS study based on two selection criteria. First, only those offenders brought to Probation Intake for delinquency offenses were included, and not those referred to court for status offenses. Second, in order to maximize the length of time that the offenders could be followed as adults, only the oldest juveniles were selected from the FCDS. The final sample for the present study includes juveniles at ages 14 and 15 who had been brought to Probation Intake in the New York City Family Court from April 1, 1977, to March 31, 1978. The FCDS subsample also constituted the sample for which up to ten prior delinquency arrests and all subsequent juvenile and adult arrests and incarcerations up to 1983 were collected.

Data Source:

(1) the Family Court Disposition Study (FCDS), which gathered information from Probation Intake logbooks in the Family Court, Probation Department files, and arrest reports from the Police Department's Youth Records Unit, and (2) records of the New York City Criminal Justice Agency (CJA), the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), and the Office of Court Administration (OCA)

Description of Variables:   Part 1 of this study contains data on a subsample of 14- and 15-year-olds who were brought to Probation Intake for delinquency offenses. Included in this file are variables such as arrest charge categorized into type and severity, date of arrest for the sample case, disposition and sentence of the sample case, sex and race of the offender, highest school grade completed, persons with whom the offender was residing, employment status of the household members, and the welfare status of the household. Included in Part 2 is information on age at first arrest, total number of prior delinquency arrests, and detailed information on up to ten prior delinquencies, such as arrest charge and severity, date of offense, disposition, and sentence. Part 2 also contains subsequent arrest and incarceration records of the offender. Included for each subsequent arrest is the status of the arrestee (juvenile or adult), the charge, categorized by type and severity, the date of the arrest, the conviction charge(s) by type and severity, the disposition of the arrest, sentence, and the date of the sentence. Included for each incarceration is the status of the offender (juvenile or adult), the date of admission to a facility, and the length of time incarcerated.

Response Rates:   A response rate for the subsample selected from the FCDS study is not applicable, since the investigators used secondary data sources. The rate at which the investigators obtained subsequent arrest and incarceration records was 66.7 percent. Arrest and incarceration records for 1,261 of the 1,890 juvenile offenders in the FCDS subsample were obtained.

Presence of Common Scales:   None

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 1999-03-18 SAS and SPSS data definition statements have been added to this collection and the card image data for Part 1, Juvenile Case File, has been replaced by logical record length data. In addition, the codebooks are now available as PDF files.

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