The Source for Crime and Justice Data

Crime and Mental Disorder, 1972 (ICPSR 9088)

Principal Investigator(s): Harper, Dean, University of Rochester


The purpose of this data collection was to explore the relationship between crime and mental disorder among jail inmates. Three sample groups were studied: jail inmates who had psychiatric contacts, jail inmates who did not have psychiatric contacts, and a control group of psychiatric patients who were not in jail. Psychiatric diagnosis history for inmates and patients with psychiatric contacts spanning 18 years (1960-1977) is available along with each subject's crime record and sentencing history. Variables include demographic characteristics, type of offenses sentenced, and number of arrests. Also included are psychiatric contact information including date of contact, diagnosis, type of service given, date of treatment termination, and reason for termination.

Access Notes

  • The 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.


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Study Description


Harper, Dean. Crime and Mental Disorder, 1972. ICPSR09088-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1989.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (OJP-85-M-431)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    crime patterns, criminal histories, jail inmates, mental disorders, mental health services, psychiatric services, psychological evaluation, psychological wellbeing

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1972

Universe:    Prisoners (some having had psychiatric contact, others not) who served time in a county jail in 1972.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The file has a variable number of records per case because it is hierarchically structured at two levels: (1) the individual level and (2) the psychiatric contact level. For each individual there are at least two 80-column records of data. For each prisoner with psychiatric contacts and for each control group patient, there are one or more additional 80-column records, each representing a separate entry in the Psychiatric Case Register. At the least, a case would have 58 variables describing it, at most, 1,103.


Sample:    The sample is composed of 617 prisoners who served time in a county jail during 1972. Among these individuals, 386 had psychiatric contacts either before or after their imprisonment (i.e., between 1960 and 1977) and 231 did not. A control group of 386 psychiatric patients who had not served jail time during 1972 was also selected from the lists of the Psychiatric Case Register. These patients were matched to jail inmates with the psychiatric contacts on the following characteristics: year of first psychiatric contact, census tract of first contact, birth year, gender, and race.

Data Source:

County jail inmate intake logs and probation files, and a county psychiatric case register.


Original ICPSR Release:   1989-05-04

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