The Source for Crime and Justice Data

Implementation of Quantitative Decision Aids in the Oklahoma Probation and Parole System, 1989-1990 (ICPSR 9963)

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These data were collected to examine the use of quantitative decision aids in making probation and parole decisions in Oklahoma. The quantitative aids implemented in Oklahoma were modifications of the Wisconsin risks/needs assessment instruments. To determine the uses of and attitudes towards such instruments, Oklahoma probation and parole officers were queried regarding the appropriateness of the instruments in making probation and parole decisions, the specific circumstances in which the instruments were useful, the reasons why the instruments were used, and the extent to which the instruments were manipulated. In addition, data were collected from the officers on job satisfaction and age, length of employment, sex, education, and race.

Access Notes

  • These data are available to the general public.


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Study Description


Schneider, Anne L., Zoann Snyder-Joy, and Laurie H. Ervin. Implementation of Quantitative Decision Aids in the Oklahoma Probation and Parole System, 1989-1990. ICPSR09963-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1993.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (89-IJ-CX-0012)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   decision making, parole officers, probation officers, program evaluation, risk assessment

Geographic Coverage:   Oklahoma, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1989--1990

Date of Collection:  

  • 1989--1990

Unit of Observation:   Individuals.

Universe:   Probation and parole officers in the state of Oklahoma.

Data Types:   survey data


Study Purpose:   Formal decision models have been used in criminal justice to guide decisions regarding diversion, sentencing, bail, parole, intensity of probation supervision, and treatment modality. The authors explore how a quantitative decision aid has been implemented and used in Oklahoma. The researchers studied how the Wisconsin risks/needs instruments were implemented by the Oklahoma Probation and Parole Department, how they were actually used, and the attitudes towards them held by probation and parole officers. The researchers addressed a number of issues including (1) the usefulness of the risk/needs assessment instruments, (2) what the instruments are useful for, (3) why officers use the instruments, (4) whether the instruments are manipulated by officers, and (5) job satisfaction. In addition, some demographic and background information was collected on the respondents, including age, sex, education, years of probation and parole experience, caseload, and experience with previous risk/needs assessment instruments. The research should be useful in identifying the attitudes and concerns of probation and parole professionals who use quantitative decision aids and in determining the perceived utility of these aids.

Study Design:   The researchers were interested in collecting data on attitudes towards and actual use of quantitative decision aids among probation and parole officers in Oklahoma. A preliminary letter was sent to all probation and parole officers in the state, encouraging their participation. Surveys were then mailed to each officer. The surveys were self-administered, and upon completion they were returned to the researchers. All responses were confidential.

Sample:   The sample consists of 180 probation and parole officers who returned completed questionnaires. A total of 296 surveys were distributed.

Data Source:

self-enumerated questionnaires

Description of Variables:   The survey instrument was designed to address a number of specific topics, including (1) whether probation and parole officers believe the instruments are appropriate and useful in making decisions about the intensity of probation, (2) what officers believe the instruments are useful for, such as doing a better job, increasing control of supervisors within the hierarchical structure, legitimizing decisions to the public, and protecting officers from blame, (3) why officers use the instruments, such as for professional reasons, trust in expertise or research, requirements within a hierarchical structure, or positive or negative incentives, (4) the extent to which the instruments are manipulated by the officers, and how much influence is exerted by the media or by external political agendas, (5) the relationship between attitudes towards the instruments and job satisfaction.

Response Rates:   Completed questionnaires were received from 180 (61 percent) of the 296 probation officers solicited.

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:  

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