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Evaluating Anti-Gang Legislation and Gang Prosecution Units in Clark and Washoe Counties, Nevada, 1989-1995 (ICPSR 2753) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

In response to several high profile, violent crimes by minority males, which were reported by law enforcement officials as being gang-related, Nevada lawmakers enacted an array of anti-gang legislation, much of it drafted by law enforcement personnel. This study attempted to provide answers to the following research questions: (1) How often and under what specific conditions were the various anti-gang statutes used in the prosecution of gang members? (2) How had the passage of anti-gang statutes and the development of the gang prosecution units influenced the use of more conventional charging practices related to gang cases? and (3) Did specialized gang prosecution produce higher rates of convictions, more prison sentences, and longer prison terms for gang offenders? Court monitoring data were collected from both Clark and Washoe counties to document the actual extent and nature of gang crime in both jurisdictions over several years. Variables include the year of the court case, whether the defendant was a gang member, total number of initial charges, whether all charges were dismissed before trial, whether the defendant was convicted of any charge, the length of the prison sentence imposed, whether the defendant was charged with a gang enhancement statute, and whether the defendant was charged with murder, sexual assault, robbery, kidnapping, burglary, auto theft, larceny, a drug offense, a weapon offense, or assault. Demographic variables include the race, sex, and age of the defendant.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

Dataset - Download All Files (17.7 MB)

Study Description

Citation

Miethe, Terance D., and Richard C. McCorkle. EVALUATING ANTI-GANG LEGISLATION AND GANG PROSECUTION UNITS IN CLARK AND WASHOE COUNTIES, NEVADA, 1989-1995. ICPSR version. Las Vegas, NV: University of Nevada [producer], 1999. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2002. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02753.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (94-IJ-CX-0053)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   counties, conviction rates, gang violence, gangs, imprisonment, legislation, legislative impact, prosecution, sentencing, violent crime, Nevada, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1989--1995

Date of Collection:  

  • 1994--1996

Unit of Observation:   Court cases.

Universe:   All court cases in Clark and Washoe counties, Nevada, between 1989 and 1995.

Data Types:   administrative records data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) No other data from this grant were submitted to ICPSR. (2) The user guide and codebook are provided by ICPSR 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 Web site.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   This project was an evaluation of one state's response to street gangs. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the two major cities in Nevada -- Las Vegas (Clark County) and Reno (Washoe County) -- experienced what could be characterized as a "gang panic." In response to several high profile, violent crimes by minority males, which were reported by law enforcement officials as being gang-related, Nevada lawmakers enacted an array of anti-gang legislation, much of it drafted by law enforcement personnel. Police gang units were created or augmented and tough suppression strategies were employed. Special prosecutorial units were developed within district attorneys' offices to prosecute gang crimes more effectively, with higher conviction rates and more severe sanctions for gang members who commit crimes. This study attempted to provide answers to the following research questions: (1) How often and under what specific conditions were the various anti-gang statutes used in the prosecution of gang members? (2) How had the passage of anti-gang statutes and the development of the gang prosecution units influenced the use of more conventional charging practices related to gang cases? and (3) Did specialized gang prosecution produce higher rates of convictions, more prison sentences, and longer prison terms for gang offenders?

Study Design:   Court monitoring data were collected from both Clark and Washoe counties to document the actual extent and nature of gang crime in both jurisdictions over several years.

Data Source:

court records from Clark and Washoe Counties

Description of Variables:   Variables include the year of the court case, whether the defendant was a gang member, total number of initial charges, whether all charges were dismissed before trial, whether the defendant was convicted of any charge, the length of the prison sentence imposed, whether the defendant was charged with a gang enhancement statute, and whether the defendant was charged with murder, sexual assault, robbery, kidnapping, burglary, auto theft, larceny, a drug offense, a weapon offense, or assault. Demographic variables include the race, sex, and age of the defendant.

Response Rates:   Not applicable.

Presence of Common Scales:   None.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 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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