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Transitional Aid Research Project (TARP), 1976-1977

Resource Type
Dataset : administrative records data, experimental data, survey data
  • Rossi, Peter
  • Berk, Richard A.
  • Lenihan, Kenneth J.
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Labor
Free Keywords
crime control programs; employment services; ex-offender employment; ex-offenders; inmate release plans; job history; job placement; occupational mobility; parole services; parolees; postrelease programs; prison inmates; recidivism; recidivism prediction; social adjustment; social reintegration; unemployment insurance
  • Abstract

    The Transitional Aid Research Project (TARP) was a randomized field experiment conducted in Texas and Georgia in 1976-1977 that was designed to reduce recidivism among ex-prisoners by lowering incentives for re-engaging in property crime through provision of minimal levels of income support and extension of some unemployment insurance coverage to released prisoners. This study evolved out of an earlier LIFE (Living Insurance for Ex-Prisoners) study conducted in Baltimore, Maryland in the early 1970s. In the LIFE study, 500 prisoners with a high probability of re-arrest were randomly assigned at release from prison to experimental and control groups which varied by the amount of money received (contingent upon employment or unemployment and job placement services provided). The results showed that ex-prisoners receiving payments were less likely to be re-arrested for property theft-related crimes than those who received only job placement or no services or payments of any kind. The United States Department of Labor commissioned the TARP experiment, designed to replicate the LIFE experiment while providing a larger and more representative sample of prisoners, greater variation in treatment conditions, and administration of payments and job placement services through existing agencies rather than by a special purpose project staff. Texas and Georgia were the states chosen for the experiment, and stratified random samples of inmates were assigned, at the time of release from prison, to experimental and control groups. The groups varied in the amount of money and job placement services they received upon their release. Originally, the data were recorded in nine files for each state corresponding to each of the nine different sources of information for each TARP case. The ICPSR data collection combines these into one file for each state: Part 1 for Texas, and Part 2 for Georgia. Each file contains over 1,500 variables, clustered in nine topic areas for each inmate: (1) prison history (e.g., background information, psychological and aptitude test data, and prior criminal and present incarceration activity), (2-5) data from four personal interviews (conducted at the prerelease, three-month, six-month, and 12-month stages and that include living arrangements, employment history, and financial status), (6) state arrest data, (7) records of TARP payments received, (8) social security wages, and (9) parole records.
  • Methods

    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: Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: Texas Released Inmate Data
    • DS2: Georgia Released Inmate Data
Temporal Coverage
  • 1976 / 1977
    Time period: 1976--1977
  • 1976 / 1977
    Collection date: 1976--1977
Geographic Coverage
  • Georgia
  • Texas
  • United States
Sampled Universe
All prisoners in Georgia and Texas eligible for parole who were not returning to unsampled rural counties, who were not returning to live outside of the state, and who did not have existing warrants or detainers against them.
Stratified random sampling was employed to obtain 2,007 prisoner participants in Georgia and 1,975 prisoner participants in Texas, who were then assigned to one of six experimental and control groups when released from prison. The experiment lasted one year beyond that date.
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 7874 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR07874.v1
  • Needels, Karen Elizabeth. Go Directly to Jail and Do Not Collect? A Long-Term Study of Recidivism and Employment Patterns among Prison Releasees. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency.33, (4), 471 -1996.
    • ID: 10.1177/0022427896033004005 (DOI)
  • Needels, Karen Elizabeth. Go Directly to Jail and Do Not Collect? A Long-Term Study of Recidivism and Employment Patterns among Prison Releasees. Dissertation, Princeton University. 1994.
  • Curtis, Russell L., Schulman, Sam. Ex-offenders, family relations, and economic supports: The 'significant women' study of the TARP project. Crime and Delinquency.30, (4), 507-528.1984.
    • ID: 10.1177/0011128784030004003 (DOI)
  • (author unknown). Postrelease depression and the importance of familial support. Criminology.21, (2), 253-275.1983.
  • Henry, John Patrick. Post-Prison Adjustment: Modeling the Effects of Income and Expenditures on Arrests after the First Year of Release. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts. 1983.
  • Jurik, Nancy C.. The economics of female recidivism: A study of TARP women ex-offenders. Criminology.21, (4), 603-622.1983.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1983.tb00282.x (DOI)
  • Peddersen, Judi W.. The Impact of Transitional Financial Aid on Recidivism. Dissertation, University of Cincinnati. 1983.
  • Jurik, Nancy C.. The Economics of Female Crime: TARP Women Ex-Offenders. Society for the Study of Social Problems. 1981.
  • Liker, Jeffrey K.. Work and Post-Prison Adjustment: The Role of Employment in Reducing Economic and Emotional Problems Faced by Ex-Felons. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts. 1981.
  • Jurik, Nancy Carol. Women Ex-Offenders: Their Work and Rearrest Patterns. Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara. 1980.
  • Rossi, Peter H., Berk, Richard A., Lenihan, Kenneth J.. Money, Work, and Crime: Experimental Evidence. New York: Academic Press. 1980.
  • Rutledge, Jack Thurston. Post Release Inmate Employment: An Experimental Study Concerning the Effects of Job Placement Counseling on the Post Release Employment and Recidivism of Inmates. Dissertation, Georgia State University. 1980.
  • Stephens, Jack L., Sanders, Lois W.. Transitional Aid for Ex-Offenders: An Experimental Study in Georgia. Georgia Offender Rehabilitation Department. 1978.
  • (author unknown). Unlocking the Second Gate: The Role of Financial Assistance in Reducing Recidivism among Ex-Prisoners. Washington, DC: United States Employment and Training Administration. 1977.
  • Horowitz, Robert. Back on the Street from Prison to Poverty: The Financial Resources of Released Offenders. Transitional Aid Research Project for Ex-Offenders.Washington, DC: American Bar Association. 1976.

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

Rossi, Peter; Berk, Richard A.; Lenihan, Kenneth J. (1984): Transitional Aid Research Project (TARP), 1976-1977. Archival Version. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.