Effects of Incarceration on Criminal Trajectories in the United States, 1994 (ICPSR 4578)

Published: Feb 5, 2007

Principal Investigator(s):
Avinash Singh Bhati, Urban Institute

https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04578.v1

Version V1

Using data from RECIDIVISM OF PRISONERS RELEASED IN 1994: [UNITED STATES] (ICPSR 3355), this study developed an analytical approach to utilize detailed dated criminal arrest history information in order to investigate whether, and to what extent, incarceration is able to deter offenders from future offending. This data collection consists of the syntax for a SAS macro used to estimate individual specific offending micro-trajectories, project counterfactual trajectories, and to assess the actual post-release offending patterns against the backdrop of these counterfactuals. The arrest records of individuals were clustered in chronological order and were truncated after the first post-release re-arrest event. The key independent variables used in estimating the pre-release criminal history accumulation process included the arrest number, the age at first arrest, whether or not the individual was confined as a result of the previous arrest event, and a measure of the number of years taken to reach each arrest event cumulated through the last arrest event. The same set of basic variables were used to model first re-arrest after release (recidivism).

Bhati, Avinash Singh. Effects of Incarceration on Criminal Trajectories in the United States, 1994. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2007-02-05. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04578.v1

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2005-IJ-CX-0008)

None

1994

2005

The main purpose of this study was to develop an analytical approach to utilize detailed dated criminal history information in order to investigate whether, and to what extent, incarceration is able to deter offenders from future offending. A secondary purpose of the study was to demonstrate the utility of the developed framework by applying it to a real-world dataset.

The study utilized a combination of information-theory and event-history analysis to estimate individual-specific offending micro-trajectories, project counterfactual trajectories (the offending trajectory for each individual had (s)he not been incarcerated), and to assess the actual post-release offending patterns against the backdrop of these counterfactuals. The study used data collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), available as RECIDIVISM OF PRISONERS RELEASED IN 1994: [UNITED STATES] (ICPSR 3355), which tracked a sample of 38,624 prisoners released from prison in 15 states in 1994 over a period of three years. The data consist of information on each releasee's entire officially recorded criminal history. This includes all recorded adult arrests through the end of the follow-up period. These data were obtained from state and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) automated RAP sheets and include arrest, adjudication, and sentencing information. Each arrest event includes information on adjudication and sentencing related to that event, if such action was taken. The data also include some demographic information, type of release from prison, and type of admission into prison. However, this information is only available for the 1994 release and not for all prior (or future) arrest events. This data collection consists of the syntax for a SAS macro used to estimate individual offending trajectories. Individuals that had some problem in their arrest history records or were not included in the BJS report were not included in the analysis sample. Arrest records were restructured into a hierarchical person-event-level file. Arrest events of each person were clustered in chronological order. The arrest histories were then truncated after the first post-release re-arrest event. For those persons that were not arrested after release, the arrest age was set to the age at censoring.

After removing persons who either had some problem in their arrest histories or were not included in the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report, the remaining sample consisted of 32,628 persons across 15 states. Problem arrest histories were defined as records that were not in proper chronological order, those in which ages were incorrect or impossible, and those that were missing information on all ages or that had gaps in their age variable. Since the sample for California releasees was very large (nearly 60,000 person-events before prison release), a random subset of 2,500 individuals (21,838 person-events) from the California sample was used for estimating the pre-prison criminal history accumulation process. However, all individuals from the California sample were used in the analysis of the post-release data. Therefore, the final pre-release sample consisted of 21,226 individuals across the 15 states while the post-release sample consisted of 32,628 individuals.

individual

RECIDIVISM OF PRISONERS RELEASED IN 1994: [UNITED STATES] (ICPSR 3355)

program source code

The key independent variables used in estimating the pre-release criminal history accumulation process included the arrest number, the age at first arrest, whether or not the individual was confined as a result of the previous arrest event, and a measure of the number of years taken to reach each arrest event cumulated through the last arrest event. The same set of basic variables were used to model first re-arrest after release (recidivism).

Not applicable

None

2007-02-05

2007-02-05

Notes

  • 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.

NACJD logo

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.