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Selecting Career Criminals for Priority Prosecution, 1984-1986: Los Angeles County, California and Middlesex County, Massachusetts (ICPSR 8980) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):


Collection of these data was undertaken in order to develop offender classification criteria that could be used to identify career criminals for priority prosecution. In addition to the crime records obtained from official sources and defendants' self- reports, information about prosecutors' discretionary judgments on sampled cases was obtained from interviews of prosecutors and case review forms completed by attorneys. Respondent and nonrespondent files, taken from official court records, contain information on current and past records of offenses committed, arrests, dispositions, sentences, parole and probation histories, substance abuse records, juvenile court appearances, criminal justice practitioners' assessments, and demographic characteristics. The prosecutor interview files contain variables relating to prosecutors' opinions on the seriousness of the defendant's case, subjective criteria used to decide suitability for prosecution, and case status at intake stage. Information obtained from prosecutors' case review forms include defendants' prior records and situational variables related to the charged offenses. The self-report files contain data on the defendants' employment histories, substance abuse and criminal records, sentence and confinement histories, and basic socioeconomic characteristics.

Access Notes

  • One or more data files in this study are set up in a non-standard format, such as card image format. Users may need help converting these files before they can be used for analysis.

  • These data are freely available.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Respondent: Los Angeles County 1 - Download All Files (8.9 MB)
DS2:  Nonrespondent: Los Angeles County 1 - Download All Files (8.5 MB)
DS3:  Respondent: Los Angeles County 2 - Download All Files (9.3 MB)
DS4:  Nonrespondent: Los Angeles County 2 - Download All Files (8.6 MB)
DS5:  Respondent: Middlesex County - Download All Files (9.3 MB)
DS6:  Prosecutors: Los Angeles County - Download All Files (8.6 MB)
DS7:  Prosecutors: Middlesex County - Download All Files (8.6 MB)
DS8:  Self Response: Los Angeles County - Download All Files (8.8 MB)
DS9:  Self Response: Middlesex County - Download All Files (8.7 MB)

Study Description


Chaiken, Marcia R. SELECTING CAREER CRIMINALS FOR PRIORITY PROSECUTION, 1984-1986: LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CALIFORNIA AND MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS. Waltham, MA: Brandeis University, National Institute for Sentencing Alternatives [producer], 1986. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1988.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (84-IJ-CX-0055)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   arrest records, career criminals, court cases, criminal histories, demographic characteristics, offender classification, offender profiles, prosecution, recidivism

Geographic Coverage:   California, Massachusetts, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1984--1986

Date of Collection:  

  • 1984--1986

Universe:   All males prosecuted in Los Angeles County and Middlesex County for burglary, homicide, and robbery between 1984 and 1986.

Data Types:   survey data, and event/transaction data

Data Collection Notes:

In the self-report surveys of defendants, multiple indicators were included to assess reliability of responses. Data on Los Angeles nonrespondents were also collected to examine the possible response bias.


Sample:   The sample was a random subset of male priority prosecuted defendants not prosecuted as career criminals but originally charged with such crimes as homicide, burglary, and robbery.

Data Source:

official court records, questionnaires, and case review forms


Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 10 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.
  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 10 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.

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