National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Judicial Decision Guidelines for Bail: The Philadelphia Experiment, 1981-1982 (ICPSR 8358)

Principal Investigator(s): Goldkamp, John S.; Gottfredson, Michael R.


The purpose of this study was to test the utility of draft guidelines in informing judicial decisions about bail. A sample of judges, based upon a stratified quota sampling design, was selected from the Philadephia Municipal Court to rule on sample cases. Eight judges were randomly selected to use guidelines and be "experimental judges," and eight others were randomly selected to be nonguideline or "control judges." Data for the sample cases were taken from defendants' files. Variables provided in this collection include number of suspects involved, number of different offenses charged, most serious injury experienced by the victim(s), preliminary arraignment disposition, amount of bail, socioeconomic status and demographics of the defendant, prior criminal history of the defendant, and reason for granting or denying bail.

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.

  • 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


Goldkamp, John S., and Michael R. Gottfredson. Judicial Decision Guidelines for Bail: The Philadelphia Experiment, 1981-1982. ICPSR08358-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1985.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (81-IJR-0027)
  • United States Department of Justice. Federal Bureau of Prisons. National Institute of Corrections (OJ-ARS-84-M-105)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    bail, criminal justice system, decision making, judges, judicial decisions, offenses, pretrial procedures

Geographic Coverage:    Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1981--1982

Date of Collection:   

  • 1981--1982

Universe:    Philadelphia Municipal Court judges during 1981-1982.

Data Type(s):    administrative records data, experimental data


Sample:    Court records of 16 judges.

Data Source:

Philadelphia Municipal Court records


Original ICPSR Release:   1985-05-24

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