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Evaluation of Day Fines in Maricopa County, Arizona, 1991-1993 (ICPSR 2024)

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study sought to evaluate how well day fines work as an intermediate sanction. Day fines are a structured approach to imposing fines that considers both the offender's ability to pay and the severity of the offense. The program involves two steps: (1) a determination of the number of fine units for an offense, based on the severity of the offense, and (2) a valuation of fine units, based on the offender's net daily income, hence the name "day fines". While four jurisdictions participated in the day fines evaluation, only the site in Maricopa County, Arizona, was structured in such a way to allow for a quasi-experimental research design. Therefore, this collection only contains data from the Financial Assessment Related to Employability (FARE) day fines program in Maricopa County. The FARE program was started in 1991 and targeted felony offenders with little need for supervision or treatment -- in other words, the low risk-low need defendant. The intent of the program was to draw clients from the population of offenders who would traditionally receive routine probation, thus serving as an intermediate sanction between routine and summary probation. The major research strategy was to consider the FARE-sentenced offenders as the experimental group and to construct a similar comparison group out of the offenders sentenced by non-day fines judges. The design involved three major steps: (1) identification of 1991 and 1992 defendants who received a FARE sentence, (2) screening of sentenced defendants in non-FARE courts using FARE eligibility criteria to match the FARE participants, and (3) coding background and 12-month follow-up information for both FARE and comparison group offenders from probation and clerk files to record background information, monetary payments, and any technical violations and arrests occurring during the 12-month follow-up period. Variables in Part 1, Fines Paid Data, include the total amount of the fine and how much of the fine was applied to probation fees, reimbursement, restitution, and victim compensation. Part 2, Official Records Data, contains background information such as arrest history, marital status, education, drug use, and drug treatment. Additional information includes current arrest, recommended sentence, disposition, sentence imposed, employment and income, and risk/needs assessment. Six- and 12-month reviews collected data on supervisory status, technical violations, new arrests, payment enforcement, and payment term revisions.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Fines Paid Data - Download All Files (0.7 MB)
DS2:  Official Records Data - Download All Files (4 MB)

Study Description

Citation

Turner, Susan, and Joan Petersilia. EVALUATION OF DAY FINES IN MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA, 1991-1993. ICPSR version. Santa Monica, CA: RAND [producer], 1996. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02024.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 (91-DD-CX-0037)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   arrest records, felony offenses, fines, offenders, probation, program evaluation, sanctions, sentencing

Geographic Coverage:   Arizona, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1991--1993

Date of Collection:  

  • 1991--1993

Unit of Observation:   Individuals.

Universe:   Offenders eligible for day fines sanctions in Maricopa County, Arizona, between 1991 and 1992.

Data Types:   administrative records data

Data Collection Notes:

The user guide, codebook, and data collection instrument 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 through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   This study sought to evaluate how well day fines work as an intermediate sanction. Day fines are a structured approach to imposing fines that considers both the offender's ability to pay and the severity of the offense. It has captured the interest of policymakers attempting to develop a greater variety of community-based sentencing options. The program involves two steps: (1) a determination of the number of fine units for an offense, based on the severity of the offense, and (2) a valuation of fine units, based on the offender's net daily income, hence the name "day fines". Some of the questions the researchers sought to answer in evaluating the day fines program in Maricopa County were: (1) What were the characteristics of the designed day fine program? (2) How many eligible offenders received the day fines specified in the program's design? (3) What revenues were collected from the day fines programs? (4) Is there evidence that the imposition of day fines is associated with an increase or decrease in recidivism?

Study Design:   While four jurisdictions participated in the day fines evaluation, only the site in Maricopa County, Arizona, was structured in such a way to allow for a quasi-experimental research design. Therefore, this collection only contains data from the Financial Assessment Related to Employability (FARE) day fines program in Maricopa County. The FARE program was initially started in 1991 and targeted felony offenders with little need for supervision or treatment -- in other words, the low risk-low need defendant. The intent of the program was to draw clients from the population of offenders who would traditionally receive routine probation, thus serving as an intermediate sanction between routine and summary probation. The Maricopa FARE program used day fines to structure the total amount of a monetary sanction, which might include a fine, probation service fee, victim compensation fund, and restitution. The program planners assigned 250 penal codes to 14 severity levels. Using a range of 350 penalty units, with 10 being the minimum, severity levels were assigned ranges of units, and then each individual offense was assigned a penalty unit within that range. Next the unit value was assigned based on the offender's net daily income, which had been determined from the information supplied by the defendant during the presentence investigation. The amount was then discounted for the number of dependents, up to eight, and also for incomes that fell under the national poverty level. Day fine collection activities focused on a system of notification and graduated sanctions for noncompliance, with jail as a last resort. The evaluation of the day fines program was facilitated by the way court cases are assigned in Maricopa County. The county is divided into four major judicial quadrants. Within each quadrant, two judges were selected to participate in the FARE program, while the remaining judges did not. All cases were randomly assigned to the judges. This structure laid the framework for an evaluation in which comparable offenders in each of the four quadrants could be studied as comparison group offenders. The major research strategy was to consider the FARE-sentenced offenders as the experimental group and to construct a similar comparison group out of the offenders sentenced by non-day fines judges. The design involved three major steps: (1) identification of 1991 and 1992 defendants who received a FARE sentence, (2) screening of sentenced defendants in non-FARE courts using FARE eligibility criteria to match the FARE participants, and (3) coding background and 12-month follow-up information for both FARE and comparison group offenders from probation and clerk files to record background information, monetary payments, and any technical violations and arrests occurring during the 12-month follow-up period.

Sample:   Random and matched sampling.

Data Source:

official records

Description of Variables:   Part 1, Fines Paid Data, includes variables on the total amount of the fine and how much of the fine was applied to probation fees, reimbursement, restitution, and victim compensation. Part 2, Official Records Data, contains background information such as arrest history, marital status, education, drug use, and drug treatment. Additional information includes current arrest, recommended sentence, disposition, sentence imposed, employment and income, and risk/needs assessment. Six- and 12-month reviews collected data on supervisory status, technical violations, new arrests, payment enforcement, and payment term revisions. All date variables are given as time-lapsed days from the review date.

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 CB2024.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 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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