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Unintended Impacts of Sentencing Reforms and Incarceration on Family Structure in the United States, 1984-1998

Version
v1
Resource Type
Dataset : census/enumeration data, aggregate data, administrative records data, and survey data
Creator
  • Myers, Samuel L. Jr. (University of Minnesota, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs)
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Publication Date
2003-05-09
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice
Language
English
Free Keywords
communities; demographic characteristics; families; family conflict; family structure; imprisonment; inmates; sentencing; sentencing guidelines; sentencing reform; single parent families; social problems
Description
  • Abstract

    This project sought to investigate a possible relationship between sentencing guidelines and family structure in the United States. The research team developed three research modules that employed a variety of data sources and approaches to understand family destabilization and community distress, which cannot be observed directly. These three research modules were used to discover causal relationships between male withdrawal from productive spheres of the economy and resulting changes in the community and families. The research modules approached the issue of sentencing guidelines and family structure by studying: (1) the flow of inmates into prison (Module A), (2) the role of and issues related to sentencing reform (Module B), and family disruption in a single state (Module C). Module A utilized the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program data for 1984 and 1993 (Parts 1 and 2), the 1984 and 1993 National Correctional Reporting Program (NCRP) data (Parts 3-6), the Urban Institute's 1980 and 1990 Underclass Database (UDB) (Part 7), the 1985 and 1994 National Longitudinal Survey on Youth (NLSY) (Parts 8 and 9), and county population, social, and economic data from the Current Population Survey, County Business Patterns, and United States Vital Statistics (Parts 10-12). The focus of this module was the relationship between family instability, as measured by female-headed families, and three societal characteristics, namely underclass measures in county of residence, individual characteristics, and flows of inmates. Module B examined the effects of statewide incarceration and sentencing changes on marriage markets and family structure. Module B utilized data from the Current Population Survey for 1985 and 1994 (Part 12) and the United States Statistical Abstracts (Part 13), as well as state-level data (Parts 14 and 15) to measure the Darity-Myers sex ratio and expected welfare income. The relationship between these two factors and family structure, sentencing guidelines, and minimum sentences for drug-related crimes was then measured. Module C used data collected from inmates entering the Minnesota prison system in 1997 and 1998 (Part 16), information from the 1990 Census (Part 17), and the Minnesota Crime Survey (Part 18) to assess any connections between incarceration and family structure. Module C focused on a single state with sentencing guidelines with the goal of understanding how sentencing reforms and the impacts of the local community factors affect inmate family structure. The researchers wanted to know if the aspects of locations that lose marriageable males to prison were more important than individual inmate characteristics with respect to the probability that someone will be imprisoned and leave behind dependent children. Variables in Parts 1 and 2 document arrests by race for arson, assault, auto theft, burglary, drugs, homicide, larceny, manslaughter, rape, robbery, sexual assault, and weapons. Variables in Parts 3 and 4 document prison admissions, while variables in Parts 5 and 6 document prison releases. Variables in Part 7 include the number of households on public assistance, education and income levels of residents by race, labor force participation by race, unemployment by race, percentage of population of different races, poverty rate by race, men in the military by race, and marriage pool by race. Variables in Parts 8 and 9 include age, county, education, employment status, family income, marital status, race, residence type, sex, and state. Part 10 provides county population data. Part 11 contains two different state identifiers. Variables in Part 12 describe mortality data and welfare data. Part 13 contains data from the United States Statistical Abstracts, including welfare and poverty variables. Variables in Parts 14 and 15 include number of children, age, education, family type, gender, head of household, marital status, race, religion, and state. Variables in Part 16 cover admission date, admission type, age, county, education, language, length of sentence, marital status, military status, sentence, sex, state, and ZIP code. Part 17 contains demographic data by Minnesota ZIP code, such as age categories, race, divorces, number of children, home ownership, and unemployment. Part 18 includes Minnesota crime data as well as some demographic variables, such as race, education, and poverty ratio.
  • Abstract

    There has been a policy discussion that an unstable family structure will increase the likelihood that a person will turn to crime. However, new evidence suggests that a reverse process may be at work, in particular that incarceration may destabilize families or neighborhoods. In other words, incarceration may unleash a chain of events that further contributes to crime and violence and thus necessitates further crime control and corrections. This project sought to investigate a possible relationship between sentencing guidelines and family structure. The research team developed three research modules that employed a variety of data sources and approaches to understand family destabilization and community distress, which cannot be observed directly. These three research modules were used to discover causal relationships between male withdrawal from productive spheres of the economy and resulting changes in the community and families. The research modules approached the issue of sentencing guidelines and family structure by studying: (1) the flow of inmates into prison (Module A), (2) the role of and issues related to sentencing reform (Module B), and family disruption in a single state (Module C). In particular, Module A was designed to answer the following research questions: (1) How does the flow of inmates in or out of prisons translate into individual family outcomes? (2) Does the flow of inmates in the county of residence contribute to the probability that a female is unmarried or living in a family with no adult male present? (3) Does this inmate flow contribute to the probability that a family head is female? (4) Does the effect depend on whether there is control for other location- specific factors? and (5) Does the effect differ among racial and ethnic groups? Module B examined the effects of statewide incarceration and sentencing changes on marriage markets and family structure. Module B was designed to answer the following research questions: (1) Is female family headship more pronounced in states that have undergone sentencing reforms? (2) Does the effect of sentencing reforms on female family headship differ between races? (3) Is there a more pronounced marriageable male shortage in states with sentencing reforms? and (4) Does the shortage, if any, differ among races? The central hypothesis of Module C was that neighborhoods that lose young men to imprisonment are different from other neighborhoods and as such contribute to the differences in outcomes that prisoners face. Focusing on inmates in Minnesota, Module C was designed to answer the following research questions: (1) Do ZIP code- level characteristics of locations from which inmates come influence the probability that one will be incarcerated? and (2) Does the effect of individual and ZIP code-level characteristics vary if calculated by aggregate or individual measures?
  • Abstract

    Three research modules were designed that would each examine the relationship between family structure and incarceration, but using different measures and data sources. The goal was to see if testing for the same impacts using different data would confirm the theory that changing sentencing policies had adversely affected families. Module A utilized the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program data for 1984 and 1993 (Parts 1 and 2), the 1984 and 1993 National Correctional Reporting Program (NCRP) data (Parts 3-6), the Urban Institute's 1980 and 1990 Underclass Database (UDB) (Part 7), the 1985 and 1994 National Longitudinal Survey on Youth (NLSY) (Parts 8 and 9), and county population, social, and economic data from the Current Population Survey, County Business Patterns, and United States Vital Statistics (Parts 10-12). The focus of this module was on the relationship between family instability, as measured by female-headed families, and three societal characteristics, namely underclass measures in county of residence, individual characteristics, and flows of inmates. Module B examined the effects of statewide incarceration and sentencing changes on marriage markets and family structure. Module B utilized data from the Current Population Survey for 1985 and 1994 (Part 12) and the United States Statistical Abstracts (Part 13), as well as state-level data (Parts 14 and 15) to measure the Darity-Myers sex ratio and expected welfare income. The relationship between these two factors and family structure, sentencing guidelines, and minimum sentences for drug-related crimes was then measured. Module C used data collected from inmates entering the Minnesota prison system in 1997 and 1998 (Part 16), information from the 1990 Census (Part 17), and the Minnesota Crime Survey (Part 18) to assess any connections between incarceration and family structure. Module C focused on a single state with sentencing guidelines with the goal of understanding how sentencing reforms and the impacts of the local community factors affect inmate family structure. The researchers wanted to know if the aspects of locations that lose marriageable males to prison were more important than individual inmate characteristics with respect to the probability that someone will be imprisoned and leave behind dependent children. Each module was developed in order to measure differences between Blacks and whites, and other ethnic groups when available. In addition, states were categorized depending on whether they used or did not use sentencing guidelines, and if they had or did not have mandatory minimum drug-related sentences. Categories of states followed the definitions of the United States Bureau of Justice Assistance.
  • Abstract

    Variables in Parts 1 and 2 document arrests by race for arson, assault, auto theft, burglary, drugs, homicide, larceny, manslaughter, rape, robbery, sexual assault, and weapons. Variables in Parts 3 and 4 document prison admissions, while variables in Parts 5 and 6 document prison releases. Variables in Part 7 include the number of households on public assistance, education and income levels of residents by race, labor force participation by race, unemployment by race, percentage of population of different races, poverty rate by race, men in the military by race, and marriage pool by race. Variables in Parts 8 and 9 include age, county, education, employment status, family income, marital status, race, residence type, sex, and state. Part 10 provides county population data. Part 11 contains two different state identifiers. Variables in Part 12 describe mortality data and welfare data. Part 13 contains data from the United States Statistical Abstracts, including welfare and poverty variables. Variables in Parts 14 and 15 include number of children, age, education, family type, gender, head of household, marital status, race, religion, and state. Variables in Part 16 cover admission date, admission type, age, county, education, language, length of sentence, marital status, military status, sentence, sex, state, and ZIP code. Part 17 contains demographic data by Minnesota ZIP code, such as age categories, race, divorces, number of children, home ownership, and unemployment. Part 18 includes Minnesota crime data as well as some demographic variables, such as race, education, and poverty ratio.
  • Methods

    Presence of Common Scales: Unknown.
  • Methods

    Response Rates: Not applicable.
  • Table of Contents

    Datasets:

    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: Module A: 1984 Age, Sex, Race Arrest Data
    • DS2: Module A: 1993 Age, Sex, Race Arrest Data
    • DS3: Module A: 1984 Prison Admissions Data
    • DS4: Module A: 1993 Prison Admissions Data
    • DS5: Module A: 1984 Prison Releases Data
    • DS6: Module A: 1993 Prison Releases Data
    • DS7: Module A: County Social and Economic Data
    • DS8: Module A: 1985 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Data
    • DS9: Module A: 1994 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Data
    • DS10: Module A: County Population Data
    • DS11: Module A: State Identifiers Data
    • DS12: Modules A and B: State-Level Population, Business, and Vital Statistics Data
    • DS13: Module B: Statistical Abstract Data
    • DS14: Module B: 1985 State-Level Data
    • DS15: Module B: 1995 State-Level Data
    • DS16: Module C: Minnesota Department of Corrections Data
    • DS17: Module C: Minnesota ZIP Code Data
    • DS18: Module C: Minnesota Crime Data
Temporal Coverage
  • 1984 / 1998
    Time period: 1984--1998
  • 1996 / 1998
    Collection date: 1996--1998
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
  • Minnesota
Sampled Universe
Families and prisoners in United States (Modules A and B) and in the state of Minnesota (Module C).
Sampling
Not applicable.
Collection Mode
  • (1) All of the file documentation that was received by ICPSR is included in the codebook for this study. Users should consult the original data collections or the principal investigators for additional information about these files. (2) The SAS programs used to create the three research modules are included with this data collection. (3) The data file for Part 12 was used in both Modules A and B. Users interested in running the SAS programming code for Module A will need to download the data files for Parts 1-12. Users interested in running the SAS programming code for Module B will need to download the data files for Parts 12-15. (4) The user guide and codebook are provided by ICPSR as Portable Document Format (PDF) files. 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.

Note
2006-03-30 File UG3662.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.2006-03-30 File CQ3662.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads. Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (96-CE-VX-0015).
Availability
Download
One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions; consult the study documentation to learn more on how to obtain the data.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 3662 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
Publications
  • Myers, Samuel L., Jr.. The Unintended Impacts of Sentencing Guidelines on Family Structure. Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.Washington, DC. 2000.
    • ID: http://www.hhh.umn.edu/centers/wilkins/nij.pdf (URL)
  • Myers, Samuel L., Jr.. The Unintended Impacts of Sentencing Guidelines on Family Structure, Revised Technical Report. NCJ 194339, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota [producer], National Institute of Justice [distributor]. 2000.
    • ID: http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/194339.pdf (URL)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

Myers, Samuel L. Jr. (2003): Unintended Impacts of Sentencing Reforms and Incarceration on Family Structure in the United States, 1984-1998. Version 1. Version: v1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03662.v1