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.

Women in Prison, 1800-1935: Tennessee, New York, and Ohio (ICPSR 8481)

Principal Investigator(s): Rafter, Nicole Hahn


This data collection focused on problems in the women's correctional system over a 135-year period. More specifically, it examined the origins and development of prisoner and sentencing characteristics in three states. Demographic data on female inmates cover age, race, parents' place of birth, prisoner's occupation, religion, and marital status. Other variables include correctional facilities, offenses, minimum and maximum sentences, prior commitments, method of release from prison, and presence of crime partners.

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


Rafter, Nicole Hahn. WOMEN IN PRISON, 1800-1935: TENNESSEE, NEW YORK, AND OHIO. 2nd ICPSR version. Boston, MA: Northeastern University, College of Criminal Justice [producer], 1980. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (79-NI-AX-0039)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    correctional facilities, demographic characteristics, criminal justice system, sentencing, women, United States, New York, Ohio, Tennessee

Time Period:   

  • 1800--1935

Date of Collection:   

  • 1979--1980

Universe:    All women housed in state prisons in the United States from 1800 to 1935.

Data Type(s):    census/enumeration data

Data Collection Notes:

The codebook and data collection instrument for this collection are provided by ICPSR as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.


Sample:    In Tennessee, New York, and Ohio, cases were identified from official prison records that included a time span of ten years before and after the opening of separate women's state prisons.

Data Source:

official prison records

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:   1986-08-18

Version History:

  • 2000-10-16 SAS and SPSS data definition statements have been added to this collection, and the codebook and data collection instrument are now available as a PDF file. ICPSR also checked the data for undocumented codes.

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