Mental Disorder and Violent Crime: A 20-Year Cohort Study in New York State, 1968-1988 (ICPSR 9978)

Principal Investigator(s): Steadman, Henry J.; Robbins, Pamela Clark; Cirincione, Carmen


The objectives of this study were (1) to compare long-term patterns of violent crime for mentally disordered patients and for prison inmates, and (2) to evaluate the predictive validity of a diagnosis of schizophrenia for subsequent arrests for violent crimes. For purposes of this data collection, violent crimes were defined as including murder, manslaughter, rape, assault, kidnapping, and sodomy. The study analyzed individual state mental hospital patients and inmates of state prisons in New York State over a 20-year span. In the process of obtaining information regarding the individuals, three different areas were focused on: hospital, incarceration, and arrest histories. Variables for hospital histories include inpatient hospitalizations, admission and discharge dates, legal status for all state hospitals through 1988, primary diagnosis for target and most recent admissions, and placements in New York State Department of Correctional Services mental hospitals. Incarceration history variables include time spent in adult state prisons, incarcerations through 1988, and dates of release (including re-entry to community on parole, outright release, or escape). Arrest histories include information on the subject's first adult arrest through 1988 (only the most serious charge for each incident is recorded) and out-of-state arrests, when available. Demographic variables include age, race, and date of birth.

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.


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Study Description


Steadman, Henry J., Pamela Clark Robbins, and Carmen Cirincione. MENTAL DISORDER AND VIOLENT CRIME: A 20-YEAR COHORT STUDY IN NEW YORK STATE, 1968-1988. 3rd ICPSR version. Los Altos, CA: Sociometrics Corporation [producer], 1992. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium of Political and Social Research [distributor], 1994.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (88-IJ-CX-0039)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    assault, kidnapping, manslaughter, mental disorders, mental hospitals, mental patients, murder, prison inmates, rape, schizophrenia, violent crime

Geographic Coverage:    New York City, New York (state), United States

Time Period:   

  • 1968--1988

Date of Collection:   

  • 1979--1989

Universe:    (1) Male offenders 18 to 65 years old admitted to New York state prisons in 1968 and 1978, except for within-state transfers, those returning from mental hospitals, and those in city or county jails, and (2) male patients 18 to 65 years old admitted to New York state psychiatric centers in 1968 and 1978, exempting those transferred from other state hospitals and those admitted to special facilities for the mentally retarded or for alcoholics, to the Department of Correctional Services-operated mental health facility, or to special secure facilities.

Data Type(s):    clinical data, and administrative records data


Sample:    Random sample.

Data Source:

records from (1) New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, (2) New York State Office of Mental Health, and (3) New York State Department of Correctional Services

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.


Original ICPSR Release:   1993-10-11

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