Selecting Career Criminals for Priority Prosecution, 1984-1986: Los Angeles County, California and Middlesex County, Massachusetts (ICPSR 8980)

Published: Jan 12, 2006

Principal Investigator(s):
Marcia R. Chaiken

Version V1

Collection of these data was undertaken in order to develop offender classification criteria that could be used to identify career criminals for priority prosecution. In addition to the crime records obtained from official sources and defendants' self- reports, information about prosecutors' discretionary judgments on sampled cases was obtained from interviews of prosecutors and case review forms completed by attorneys. Respondent and nonrespondent files, taken from official court records, contain information on current and past records of offenses committed, arrests, dispositions, sentences, parole and probation histories, substance abuse records, juvenile court appearances, criminal justice practitioners' assessments, and demographic characteristics. The prosecutor interview files contain variables relating to prosecutors' opinions on the seriousness of the defendant's case, subjective criteria used to decide suitability for prosecution, and case status at intake stage. Information obtained from prosecutors' case review forms include defendants' prior records and situational variables related to the charged offenses. The self-report files contain data on the defendants' employment histories, substance abuse and criminal records, sentence and confinement histories, and basic socioeconomic characteristics.

Chaiken, Marcia R. Selecting Career Criminals for Priority Prosecution, 1984-1986:  Los Angeles County, California and Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-01-12.

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (84-IJ-CX-0055)

1984 -- 1986

1984 -- 1986

In the self-report surveys of defendants, multiple indicators were included to assess reliability of responses. Data on Los Angeles nonrespondents were also collected to examine the possible response bias.

The sample was a random subset of male priority prosecuted defendants not prosecuted as career criminals but originally charged with such crimes as homicide, burglary, and robbery.

All males prosecuted in Los Angeles County and Middlesex County for burglary, homicide, and robbery between 1984 and 1986.

official court records, questionnaires, and case review forms

survey data, and event/transaction data



2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 10 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.


  • 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.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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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.