Smallest Geographic Unit:
federal criminal court district
Date of Collection:
Unit of Observation:
federal criminal court district
All federal judicial districts in the United States between 2000 and 2005.
Data Collection Notes:
Individual level variables, including the individual defendant case decisions that were obtained through the Monitoring Federal Criminal Sentencing (MFCS) data acquired from the United States Sentencing Commission, are not available as part of this collection.
Race and criminal sentencing research typically considers only the race of the criminal offender, crime victim, and general population to assess whether and how race influences sentencing and outcomes. Invisible in most accounts are the racial identities and group relations of court workers whose decisions ultimately shape case outcomes, and thus the race relations of sentencing.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether workgroup racial composition is related to sentence outcomes generally, and racial differences in sentencing in particular, across federal districts.
This collection contains information on federal court district characteristics. Data include information about the social context, court context, and diversity of the courtroom workgroup for 90 federal judicial districts. Information on the social context of the judicial district was compiled using information from the 2000 Census and the 2000 Uniform Crime Reports (available through the FedStats system). Information specific to the court context including data on case processing, court workload information, demographics of each district, arrest data for each district, caseload, criminal case processing time, and proportion of district caseload for different types of crimes was obtained through the Federal Court Management Statistics and the Judicial Business of the United States Courts for 2000 and 2001, which are compiled annually by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Information on the racial demographics of federal court workgroups was collected by the principal investigators. Publicly available data on judge demographics and background was found at the Federal Judicial Center's Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, information on the demographics of federal prosecutors was provided from FedStats, and data on the demographics of federal probation officers and defenders was provided by the Administrative Offices of the United States Trial Courts.
The sample is comprised of 90 of the 94 judicial districts in the federal court system. Four districts (Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and North Mariana Island) were eliminated due to insufficient data available and concern about variation in territorial governance over judicial processes.
Mode of Data Collection:
Data sources include the 2000 Census, the 2000 Uniform Crime Reports, the Federal Court Management Statistics and the Judicial Business of the United States Courts for 2000 and 2001, which are compiled annually by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, the Federal Judicial Center's Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, FedStats, and the Administrative Offices of the United States Trial Courts.
Description of Variables:
The dataset contains 50 judicial district context variables. More specifically, variables include district, population, proportion male/female judges in district, proportion White/Black/Hispanic judges in district, proportion male/female probation officers in district, proportion White/Black/Hispanic probation officers in district, proportion male/female prosecutors in district, proportion White/Black/Hispanic prosecutors in district, proportion male/female defenders in district, proportion White/Black/Hispanic defenders in district, proportion district population White/Black/Hispanic, departure rate for district, proportion district under 18 years of age, proportion of district over 65 years of age, proportion of district unemployed, proportion of district below poverty level, average filing time for district, violent offense rate for district, average felony finding per judge, proportion C felony finding, proportion F felony finding, proportion Black defendant for district. Other variables include Black workgroup (judge and prosecutors only), Black judge index, Black probation index, Black prosecutor index, Black defender index, Black workgroup index-original (judge + prosecutor), proportion of judges in district appointed by democratic/republican presidents, indicator that district is in southern region, female workgroup, full Black workgroup (judge, prosecutor, probation, and defender), and full workgroup index (judge, prosecutor, probation, defender).
Presence of Common Scales:
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.