Prison Crowding and Forced Releases in Illinois, 1979-1982 (ICPSR 8921)

Principal Investigator(s): Austin, James


These data were collected in the Illinois prison system where, in response to a prison overcrowding crisis, approximately two-thirds of the inmates released by the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) were discharged prior to serving their expected sentences. This study was designed to evaluate the effects of an early release program on prisoners, prison populations, offense rates, local criminal justice systems, and the general public. The files contain extensive Federal Bureau of Investigation arrest history information and other personal and social indicators describing inmates released from the state prison system. Data are available for three comparison groups: (1) a sample of prisoners who served their regular sentences prior to the "forced release" program, (2) a group that served regular sentences after implementation of the program, and (3) a group of inmates who were released early under the program (i.e., before serving their full sentences). The "inmate jacket file," which is the comprehensive institutional file maintained for all inmates, contains variables for each inmate on social and personal characteristics, criminal history, risk scales, court decisions for each offense, institutional conduct, prior release and return records, method of release, condition of supervision, and parole violation records. The arrest file includes variables that describe the type and number of charges at arrest, case disposition of each charge, probation length, incarceration length, admission and release dates, and release type.

Access 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.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Inmate Jacket - Download All Files (6.862 MB)
SAS    SPSS    Stata    ASCII   
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup    Stata Setup   
DS2:  Arrest Rap Sheet - Download All Files (10.892 MB)
SAS    SPSS    Stata    ASCII   
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup    Stata Setup   

Study Description


Austin, James. PRISON CROWDING AND FORCED RELEASES IN ILLINOIS, 1979-1982. ICPSR version. San Francisco, CA: National Council on Crime and Delinquency Research Center [producer], 198?. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2002.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (80-IJ-CX-K026)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    arrests, correctional facilities, criminal justice system, demographic characteristics, inmates, parole system, probation, socioeconomic indicators, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1979-07--1982-12

Date of Collection:   

  • 1983

Universe:    Inmates released from Illinois prisons between July 1979 and December 1982.

Data Type(s):    event/transaction data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) The unit of observation for Part 1, Inmate Jacket, is the individual inmate, while the unit of observation for Part 2, Arrest Rap Sheet, is the arrest. (2) The codebook is provided 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:    A total of 1,600 inmates were randomly selected from the IDOC automatic information system's records of inmates released between July 1979 and December 1982. Of these, inmate jackets were located for 1,557 cases and arrest history information was available for 1,430 of the cases. Of the 1,557 inmates included in the study, 355 were released prior to June 1, 1980. The remaining 1,202 inmates were released during the operation of the program. Not all of these were early releases. Some inmates served their normal expected sentences.

Data Source:

Inmates' institutional "jacket" files and Federal Bureau of Investigation rap sheet records routinely collected and maintained by local court, correctional, and law enforcement agencies

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:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   1988-10-25

Version History:

  • 2006-03-30 File CB8921.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it 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.
  • 2002-10-02 SAS and SPSS data definition statements were created, and the machine-readable codebook (text) and other documentation were converted to PDF.

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