New Orleans Offender Study, 1973-1986 (ICPSR 6005)

Published: Jan 12, 2006

Principal Investigator(s):
Michael R. Geerken, Tulane University, Gonzaga University, and the New Orleans Office of the Criminal Sheriff; Alfred C. Miranne, Tulane University, Gonzaga University, and the New Orleans Office of the Criminal Sheriff; Mary Baldwin Kennedy, Tulane University, Gonzaga University, and the New Orleans Office of the Criminal Sheriff

Version V1

These data focus on persons arrested for burglary or armed robbery in New Orleans during 1973-1986. Local, state, and federal arrest records were combined with local and state custody records to provide a more complete criminal history database for researchers than previously available. The five files in this collection supply information on arrests, periods of criminal justice supervision and custody, employment, and basic demographics (sex, race, birth year, and state of birth). For a majority of the juvenile offenders, results of aptitude and diagnostic tests obtained from the Louisiana Department of Corrections, Juvenile Division, are available as well. The unit of analysis is the offender.

Geerken, Michael R., Miranne, Alfred C., and Kennedy, Mary Baldwin. New Orleans Offender Study, 1973-1986. 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 (86-IJ-CX-0021 and 90-IJ-CX-0019)

1973 -- 1986

1986 -- 1987

The codebook indicates that Parts 1, 2, 4, and 5 have a variable number of records per case, but the control cards do not reflect this. Multiple arrests for each individual were entered as separate observations, tied together by the same grant control number (first variable). This enables the data to remain in rectangular form. For further information users should refer to the final report, which is available from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, the clearinghouse for the National Institute of Justice.

This study contains data on persons arrested for burglary or armed robbery in New Orleans during 1973-1986. This combination of local, state, and federal arrest records, along with local and state custody records, provides a more complete criminal history database for researchers than previously available. In particular, the inclusion of local custody records allows the measurement of actual jail time served, including readmissions for probation and parole violations. It is hoped that the inclusion of jail incarceration data significantly improves the estimation of an incapacitation effect.

Arrest information was compiled using data from three databases. MOTION is a regional arrest history system used by New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) personnel that records all nonfederal arrests made by five nonfederal agencies in New Orleans. The NOPD juvenile division enters all juvenile arrests for New Orleans only into the MOTION system. FINDEX is the Louisiana Department of Public Safety (State Police) state and national arrest history system that records all arrests made in Louisiana for which a fingerprint card has been submitted and accepted, and includes FBI rap sheet information on out-of-state arrests prior to the last recorded Louisiana FINDEX arrest. Commitment charges for juveniles in other parishes from the JIRMS system, the corrections information system used by the Louisiana Department of Corrections Juvenile Division, are used in lieu of arrest data. Custody information was drawn from CAJUN, STARS, and JIRMS data. CAJUN, the Louisiana Department of Corrections adult penitentiary and probation/parole information system, indentifies individuals by a state identification number (SID#). Multiple incarcerations are maintained under a single number. The New Orleans Criminal Sheriff Department jail information management system, STARS, maintains records at the incarceration event level so that each record represents a single term of jail incarceration. STARS includes a "TYPE" field which indicates the charge status of the individual at the time of release. The following series of procedures was performed to link databases, to identify all criminal justice contacts for an individual, and to reduce false negative errors while holding false positive errors to a minimum: (a) STARS records were matched to MOTION-identified individuals with computer algorithms, and then MOTION records were searched to identify duplicates. A unique case number was subsequently assigned to each individual identified through the matching procedures. (b) CAJUN master records were matched to study database records. (c) The study database was then matched to FINDEX. The CAJUN and MOTION databases were searched for a SID# and added to the study database. Then the appropriate FINDEX records were linked to the study database. Further matches were made using the combinations of FBI#, SSN#, name, race, sex, and date of birth used in the MOTION-to-STARS matching process. (d) JIRMS was then matched to FINDEX and the study database. Juvenile records were matched using name, race, sex, and date of birth. Transitional charge and custody files were created, merging the five databases based on the links established by the matching procedures. Of the final sample of 22,561 offenders, 18,734 had FINDEX records, 11,203 had CAJUN records, and 722 had JIRMS records. The Charge Data file (Part 4) was created with information from the MOTION, FINDEX, and JIRMS databases, and the Custody Data file (Part 5) was compiled with data from the CAJUN, STARS and JIRMS systems.

All persons arrested for burglary or armed robbery in New Orleans during the period 1973-1986.


databases of the New Orleans Sheriff and Police departments, the Louisiana Department of Corrections, Adult and Juvenile divisions, and the Louisiana State Police, and rap sheets from the Federal Bureau of Investigation

administrative records data

(1) Juvenile Data File: This file contains information on juveniles only, with each record corresponding to one period of juvenile custody. The results from a battery of tests given by the Louisiana Department of Corrections, Juvenile Division, are also presented, including (a) educational test scores for CAT-R, CAT-M, CAT-L, WRAT-R, WRAT-S, and WRAT-A, (b) school level (school month and year, frequency of attendance), (c) scores from the PPV and Wisconsin-V, -P, and -F IQ tests, (d) vision test, (e) hearing test, and (f) limited information on prior drug-use experience. (2) Employment Data File: The employment data (at time of arrest) was drawn from MOTION (the New Orleans Police Department regional arrest history system). Information such as employed/unemployed, city/state employed, and occupation is included. (3) Demographic Data File: The demographic and other descriptive information in this file was drawn from MOTION, and includes race, sex, year of birth, state of birth (for some cases), number of scars, needle track marks, tattoos, aliases, and nicknames, and whether the offender had a driver's license. (4) Charge Data File: This file contains arrest data for all offenders, including arrests prior to 1973 if such records were available. Variables include the date of arrest, charge, arresting or submitting agency, type of agency, offense involved, attempt/conspiracy/principal/accessory indicator, date of disposition, sentence length and type, and the state in which the submitting agency was located. (5) Custody Data File: Each record in this file includes the date custody or supervision began, and custody or supervision type.

Not applicable.




2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 6 and flagged as study-level files, so that they 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.

1993-10-02 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:

  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • 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.