United States Sentencing Commission (USSC): Defendants Sentenced Under the Sentencing Reform Act, 1992-2009 (ICPSR 34355)

Principal Investigator(s): Lynch, Mona, University of California-Irvine

Summary:

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped for NACJD release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

The purpose of the study was to examine how court decisions and sentencing policy changes have affected sentencing behavior in federal drug trafficking cases. Changes at the district level and in mandatory minimum sentencing were a particular focus.

Data were obtained from the Defendants Sentenced Under the Sentencing Reform Act data from the United States Sentencing Commission from fiscal years 1992-2009. These data were then merged with federal district-level indicators for the 89 federal districts from the Federal Court Management Statistics website, and state level demographic data from the United States Census Bureau. Drug trafficking cases were identified by using the sentencing guideline offense, which resulted in a sample of N=376,637 cases.

Access Notes

  • These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the restricted-use data. A login is required to apply.

    Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

    Any public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

Dataset(s)

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Study Description

Citation

Lynch, Mona. United States Sentencing Commission (USSC): Defendants Sentenced Under the Sentencing Reform Act, 1992-2009. ICPSR34355-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-02-26. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34355.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34355.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2010-IJ-CX-0010)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    drug law offenses, drug traffic, sentencing, sentencing guidelines, sentencing reforms

Smallest Geographic Unit:    federal judicial district

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1992--2009

Unit of Observation:    Individual., Federal Judicial District

Universe:    All offenders sentenced in federal court between 1992 and 2009.

Data Type(s):    aggregate data

Data Collection Notes:

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped for NACJD release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

Methodology

Study Purpose:    The purpose of the study was to examine how court decisions and sentencing policy changes have affected sentencing behavior in federal drug trafficking cases. Changes at the district level and in mandatory minimum sentencing were a particular focus.

Study Design:    Data were obtained from the Defendants Sentenced Under the Sentencing Reform Act data from the United States Sentencing Commission from fiscal years 1992-2009, which contained all offenders in federal court in those fiscal years. These data were then merged with federal district-level indicators for the 89 federal districts from the Federal Court Management Statistics website, state level demographic data from the United States Census Bureau, Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data collected by the Federal Bureau, and the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) maintained by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Drug trafficking cases were identified by using the sentencing guideline offense, which resulted in a final sample of N=376,637 cases.

Sample:    The initial sample included 1,042,207 cases. Drug trafficking cases were identified by using the sentencing guideline offense, which resulted in a sample of N=376,637 cases. The sample does not include cases from 1992 and cases from United States territories.

Time Method:    Longitudinal: Trend / Repeated Cross-section

Weight:    None.

Mode of Data Collection:    record abstracts

Data Source:

Sources of these data include:

  • United States Sentencing Commission data from fiscal years 1992 through 1998 and 1999 through 2009;
  • Judicial district data from Federal Court Management Statistics; and
  • State demographic data from United States Census Bureau, Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) maintained by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Description of Variables:    Variables (Merged USSC data, n=1,042,207, 78 variables) include information on individual offenders, such as demographics, offense, case characteristics, and sentence. District level variables include population density, percentage of population by race (White, Black, Asian, and American Indian or Native Hawaiian), total number of trafficking sentences by drug type (cocaine, crack, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, and other), and mean sentence prison length.

Response Rates:    Not applicable.

Presence of Common Scales:    None.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:   2016-02-26

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