Effects of Prison Versus Probation in California, 1980-1982 (ICPSR 8700)

Principal Investigator(s): Petersilia, Joan, RAND Corporation; Turner, Susan, RAND Corporation; Peterson, Joyce, RAND Corporation


This study was divided into two phases. The first assessed the effects of different sanctions on separate criminal populations, focusing on probation as a sentencing alternative for felons. The second phase used a quasi-experimental design to address how imprisonment affects criminal behavior when criminals are released. Specific issues included: (a) the effect that imprisonment (vs. probation) and length of time served have on recidivism, (b) the amount of crime prevented by imprisoning offenders rather than placing them on probation, and (c) costs to the system for achieving that reduction in crime.

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.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Statewide Database - Download All Files (17.719 MB)
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DS2:  Probationer Sample - Download All Files (15.979 MB)
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DS3:  Prison Sample - Download All Files (15.979 MB)
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Study Description


Petersilia, Joan, Susan Turner, and Joyce Peterson. Effects of Prison Versus Probation in California, 1980-1982. ICPSR08700-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2001. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08700.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08700.v1

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (83-IJ-CX-0002)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    arrests, correctional facilities, crime, criminal justice system, government performance, inmates, probation, sentencing, social accounts, social expenditures

Geographic Coverage:    California, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1980--1982

Universe:    Convicted offenders in California.

Data Type(s):    aggregate data


Sample:    The Statewide file covers convictions in the 17 largest counties in California. The Prisoner and Probationer files cover Los Angeles and Alameda counties.

Data Source:

official records of the California Youth and Corrections Agency


Original ICPSR Release:   1988-01-06

Version History:

  • 2006-01-18 File CB8700.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2001-10-22 The codebook for this study has been converted to Portable Document Format (PDF).

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