Profiling Inmates in the Los Angeles County Jail, 1996-1998 (ICPSR 3271)
Principal Investigator(s): Petersilia, Joan, RAND; Turner, Susan, RAND; Fain, Terry, RAND
By 1996 it became apparent that the Los Angeles county jails faced a serious overcrowding problem. Two possible solutions to the problem were to build more jail capacity or to divert a greater number of incoming inmates to community-based, intermediate sanctions. The research team for this study was asked to review a 1996 profile of inmates in the Los Angeles jail system and to determine how many of them might have been good candidates for intermediate sanctions such as electronic monitoring, work release, house arrest, and intensive supervision. The researchers selected a sample of 1,000 pre-adjudicated (or unconvicted) inmates from the total census of inmates in jail custody on January 15, 1996, to study in more detail. Of the 1,000 offenders, the researchers were able to obtain jail and recidivism data for two years for 931 inmates. For each of these offenders, information on their prior criminal history, current offense, and subsequent recidivism behavior was obtained from official records maintained by several county agencies, including pretrial services, sheriff's department, probation, and courts. Demographic variables include date of birth, race, and gender. Prior criminal history variables for each prior adult arrest include type of filing charge, case disposition, type of sentence and sentence length imposed, and total number of prior juvenile petitions sustained. Current offense variables include arrest date, crime type for current arrest, crime charge, type and date of final case disposition, and sentence type and length, if convicted. Strike information collected includes number of strikes and the offense that qualified as a strike. Jail custody variables include the jail entry and exit data for the current offense and the reason for release, if released. Lastly, two-year follow-up variables include the date, type, and disposition of each subsequent arrest between January 15, 1996, and January 15, 1998.
These data are freely available.
WARNING: Because this study has many datasets, the download all files option has been suppressed, and you will need to download one dataset at a time.
Petersilia, Joan, Susan Turner, and Terry Fain. PROFILING INMATES IN THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY JAIL, 1996-1998. 2nd ICPSR version. Santa Monica, CA: RAND [producer], 2001. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2003. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03271.v2
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03271.v2
This study was funded by:
- United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (96-CE-VX-0018)
Scope of Study
Subject Terms: alternatives to institutionalization, criminal histories, criminality prediction, jail inmates, offender profiles, prison overcrowding, recidivism, sanctions
Smallest Geographic Unit: None.
Geographic Coverage: California, United States
Date of Collection:
Unit of Observation: Inmates.
Universe: All inmates of the Los Angeles County Jail in 1996.
Data Types: administrative records data
Data Collection Notes:
The user guide, codebook, and data collection instruments are provided by ICPSR 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 on the ICPSR Web site.
Study Purpose: By 1996 it became apparent that the Los Angeles county jails faced a serious overcrowding problem. Two possible solutions to the problem were to build more jail capacity or to divert a greater number of incoming inmates to community-based, intermediate sanctions. To determine which solution would be more effective, Los Angeles county officials requested assistance from researchers at RAND and the University of California, Irvine. The research team was asked to review a 1996 profile of inmates in the Los Angeles jail system and to determine how many of them might have been good candidates for intermediate sanctions such as electronic monitoring, work release, house arrest, and intensive supervision. In particular, the researchers sought to answer the following research questions: (1) How did Los Angeles County jail inmates compare with similarly situated inmates nationwide? (2) How serious was the pre-adjudicated sample, if judged by prior record and current offense? (3) For those whose cases were disposed during the two-year follow-up, what were the final dispositions? (4) For those who were released to the community during the two-year follow-up, how many recidivated and to what kinds of crimes? (5) Which offenders have the highest probability of serious reoffending? (6) Can statistical models predict who recidivates?
Study Design: The researchers selected a sample of 1,000 pre-adjudicated (or unconvicted) inmates from the total sample of inmates in jail custody on January 15, 1996, to study in more detail. For these inmates the researchers hand-coded detailed prior criminal record and current offense information. They also requested state and local rap sheets in order to record their recidivism behavior between the census date of January 15, 1996, and two years hence. Of the 1,000 offenders, the researchers were able to obtain jail and recidivism data for 931 inmates. For each of these offenders, information on their prior criminal history, current offense, and subsequent recidivism behavior was obtained from official records maintained by several county agencies, including pretrial services, sheriff's department, probation, and courts. Information regarding prior arrests, the current offense, and subsequent recidivism was coded by Probation Pretrial Services staff using their routine pretrial release charting that captured the specific arrest charge, disposition, and sentence imposed. Information regarding length of stay in jail for the current offense was obtained from jail records. The follow-up period for coding recidivism information ended on January 15, 1998. Thus the maximum street time for any offender in the sample was two years.
Sample: From a pool of all inmates in jail custody in 1996 in the Los Angeles County Jail, the researchers selected only those inmates who had not yet been convicted of any of the charges related to their current offense. Of the 11,967 pre-adjudicated inmates, 159 of them had already been convicted of one or more of their pending charges and were awaiting disposition on other currently pending offenses. These inmates were excluded from the sample. From the remaining 11,808 inmates, the principal investigators selected a random sample of 1,000 inmates (males and females) for more detailed prior record coding and recidivism follow-up.
Data were gathered from several county agencies, including pretrial services, sheriff's department, probation, and courts.
Description of Variables: Variables in Part 1 (Current Offense Data) include age at entry into jail, number of days in jail, current offense, race, sex, charge type, and reason code. Part 2 (Bureau of Criminal Statistics Current Offense Data) contains the same variables as Part 1, as well as a Bureau of Criminal Statistics (BCS) code, description of offense, and criminal category. Part 3 (Electronic Data Processing Criminal Chart Data) variables include the total number of arrests, felony convictions, misdemeanor convictions, and sustained juvenile petitions, as well as whether parole was terminated. Part 4 (Arrest Record Data) contains the offense for which the inmate was arrested, disposition, and sentence length. Part 5 (Arrest Count Data) includes the number of prior and subsequent arrests resulting in probation, jail, prison, and commitment to the California Youth Authority, as well as new charges while incarcerated. Parts 6 (Los Angeles County Custody Record Data) and 7 (California Department of Corrections Custody Record Data) include reason for custody and time in Los Angeles custody, while Part 8 (Custody Count Data) contains the number of Los Angeles custodies and California Department of Corrections custodies prior to and after the current one. Part 9 (Pretrial Release Data) variables include pre-trial charge, charge type, and application type. Part 10 (Strike Information Data) contains information on the conviction offense, disposition, and sentence for offenses that fell within California's "three strikes" guidelines. Part 11 (Strike Count Data) has variables on the total number of strikes, strikes prior to current arrest, strikes after current arrest, and a ranking of the most severe offense. Part 12 (Parole and Probation Violation Data) contains the type of parole or probation violation, disposition, and sentence. Part 13 (Parole and Probation Violation Count Data) includes the number of probation violations, parole violations, pre-custody violations, post-custody violations, and total violations. Part 14 (Risk Assessment Data) contains the most recent pre-custody risk assessment and Part 15 (Sample Data) includes the number of days in custody.
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:
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
Original ICPSR Release: 2003-05-09
- 2006-03-30 File UG3271.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
- 2006-03-30 File CQ3271.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.
- 2003-12-02 An appendix of value labels was added to the PDF codebook and questionnaire file.
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