Criminal Careers, Criminal Violence, and Substance Abuse in California, 1963-1983 (ICPSR 9964)
Principal Investigator(s): Wenk, Ernst, National Institute of Justice Visiting Fellow, and California Youth Authority (Retired)
The purpose of the study was to investigate the criminal career patterns of violent offenders. These data are intended to facilitate the development of models to predict recidivism and violence, and to construct parole supervision programs. Original data were collected on young male offenders in 1964 and 1965 as they entered the California Youth Authority (CYA). At this time, data were collected on criminal history, including current offenses, drug and alcohol use, psychological and personality variables, and sentencing, and demographics such as age, education, work experience, and family structure. The data collection also contains results from a number of standardized psychological instruments: California Psychological Inventory, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, California Achievement Test Battery, General Aptitude Test Battery, Army General Classification Test, and the Revised Beta Test. After release from the CYA and over the following 20 years, subsequent arrest information was collected on the offenders, including the nature of the offense, disposition, and arrest and parole dates.
These data are freely available.
Wenk, Ernst. CRIMINAL CAREERS, CRIMINAL VIOLENCE, AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN CALIFORNIA, 1963-1983. Compiled by Ernst Wenk, National Institute of Justice. ICPSR ed. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 1997. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09964.v1
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09964.v1
This study was funded by:
- United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (90-IJ-CX-0061)
Scope of Study
Subject Terms: arrest records, career criminals, crime prediction, criminal histories, criminality prediction, male offenders, parole, personality assessment, psychological evaluation, recidivism, substance abuse, violent crime
Geographic Coverage: California, United States
Date of Collection:
Unit of Observation: The unit of observation for Part 1, Original Data, and Parts 3 and 4, CPI and MMPI Scale Scores and CPI and MMPI (COAS) Item Responses, is individuals. For the Arrest History Data, the unit of observation is arrest events.
Universe: Young offenders in California.
Data Types: clinical data, and event/transaction data
Data Collection Notes:
The data collection contains individuals' responses to portions of the Composite Opinion and Attitude Survey (COAS). The COAS is a combination of the California Personality Inventory (CPI), the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), and the Inventory of Personal Opinions (IPO). Item responses are available for the CPI and MMPI portions of the COAS. However, due to copyright restrictions, no descriptive text is included with the responses. An appendix that cross-references the COAS variables to the individual items in the CPI and MMPI instruments is provided. Information is included in the documentation for contacting the publishers of these instruments to obtain further information.
Study Purpose: The purpose of the study was to investigate the criminal histories of violent offenders. More specifically, the study examined the influence of drug use on offending, repeat violent offending over an extended time period, and the psychological characteristics of offenders. An important part of this research involved the use of standardized psychological instruments. The data gathered with these instruments facilitate the development of models to predict recidivism and violence, and to construct parole supervision programs.
Study Design: The research had its beginnings in the early 1960s when California was developing innovative programs in juvenile justice, criminal justice, and other human services areas. Three Reception Guidance Centers (RGC) provided intake functions for California Youth Authority (CYA) wards committed by the courts to the agency for custody and care. The RGC at the Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) in Tracy, California, processed the oldest group of CYA wards during this time, and the original data used in this research were generated and collected there. Original data were collected on 4,146 offenders in 1964 and 1965. The young adult offenders committed to the RGC-DVI spent six weeks at the center for diagnosis and assessment. During this time they were tested individually and in groups, interviewed by case workers, given medical and dental examinations, and approximately 1 in 10 was examined by a psychiatrist or a psychologist. The information generated during this assessment phase was systematically collected for research purposes by the clinical staff. A variety of psychological instruments were used in this process, some administered by the CYA or other government agencies as part of routine processing, others administered by the researcher. Each weekly intake group spent the first complete week in testing. The testing program started every Friday with an orientation of the group and some diagnostic tests to determine the level of the California Achievement Test Battery (CATB) to be given each individual. The standard tests were administered beginning on the following Monday. The General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB) was administered by test proctors from the United States Department of Labor, who made vocational counseling available after the testing. From each weekly group, 40 individuals were selected for one week of in-depth testing and observation in a vocational shop setting. Twenty individuals were assigned to the metal shop and 20 to the wood shop. Shop instructors evaluated subjects for training potential and motivation for training. The Army General Classification Test (AGCT) was administered only to the individuals in the intermediate and advanced category of the CATB testing. The Revised Beta Test was administered to individuals suspected of defective or borderline defective intelligence. For those who met a minimum reading achievement test, the researcher administered the Composite Opinion and Attitude Survey (COAS) instrument. This was done to explore in depth the various psychological characteristics of the offenders. The COAS is a combination of three other psychological instruments: the California Psychological Inventory, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, and the Inventory of Personal Opinions. Over approximately the next 20 years, arrest records were collected for the individuals in the original samples. Arrest histories, from the California Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, are available for 3,652 of the original 4,146 individuals. A total of 54,175 arrest records are available.
Sample: The original data are comprised of a nonrandom sample of young male offenders who entered the California Youth Authority's Deuel Vocational Institute in 1964 and 1965. Arrest history records from the time of first arrest through 1983 were collected on 88 percent of the original sample members.
self-enumerated questionnaires and arrest records
Description of Variables: At the time of admittance to the California Youth Authority, data were collected on arrest history, including current offenses, drug and alcohol use, psychological and personality variables, and sentencing, and demographics such as age, education, work experience, and family structure. After release from the CYA and over the following 20 years, subsequent arrest information was collected, including the nature of the offense, disposition, and parole date.
Response Rates: Not applicable.
Presence of Common Scales: The data collection contains results from administering a number of standardized tests. These tests included: California Psychological Inventory, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, California Achievement Test Battery, General Aptitude Test Battery, Army General Classification Test, and the Revised Beta Test.
- Performed consistency checks.
- Standardized missing values.
- Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
Original ICPSR Release: 1998-12-23
- 2006-03-30 File CB9964.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.
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