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Impact of Sentencing Guidelines on the Use of Incarceration in Federal Criminal Courts in the United States, 1984-1990

Resource Type
Dataset : administrative records data
  • United States Sentencing Commission
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics
Free Keywords
courts; drug law offenses; imprisonment; parole; probation; program evaluation; robbery; sentencing; sentencing guidelines; tax evasion
  • Abstract

    The primary purpose of this data collection was to examine the impact of the implementation of sentencing guidelines on the rate of incarcerative and nonincarcerative sentences imposed and on the average length of expected time to be served in incarceration for all offenses as well as for select groups of offenses. The measure of sentence length, "expected time to be served," was used to allow for assumed good time and parole reductions. This term represents the amount of time an offender can expect to spend in prison at the time of sentencing, a roughly equivalent standard that can be measured before and after the implementation of federal criminal sentencing guidelines in 1987. Three broad offense categories were studied: drug offenses, robbery, and economic crimes. Drug offenses include a wide range of illegal activities involving marijuana, heroin, and cocaine. Robbery includes bank and postal robbery (both armed and unarmed) as well as other types of robbery offenses that appear less frequently in the federal system, such as carrying a firearm during the commission of a robbery. Economic offenses include fraud (bank, postal, and other), embezzlement (bank, postal, and other), and tax evasion. Other monthly data are provided on the number of prison and probation sentences for all offenses and by offense categories.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • 1984-07 / 1990-08
    Time period: 1984-07--1990-08
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
All federal criminal cases from 1984 to 1990 contained in the Federal Probation Sentencing and Supervision Information System (FPSSIS) of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
Collection Mode
  • (1) The codebook for this collection also documents PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION AND PLEA BARGAINING IN FEDERAL CRIMINAL COURTS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1983-1990 (ICPSR 9844). (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 through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.

2000-06-05 SAS and SPSS data definition statements and a PDF version of the codebook have been added to this collection. Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
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
  • 9845 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR09845.v1
  • Hofer, Paul J.. Federal sentencing for violent and drug trafficking crimes involving firearms: recent changes and prospects for improvement. American Criminal Law Review.37, (1), 41-73.2000.
  • (author unknown). The Federal Sentencing Guidelines: A Report on the Operations of the Guidelines System and Short-term Impacts on Disparity in Sentencing, Use of Incarceration, and Prosecutorial Discretion and Plea Bargaining. Washinton, DC: United States Sentencing Commission. 1991.

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

United States Sentencing Commission (1993): Impact of Sentencing Guidelines on the Use of Incarceration in Federal Criminal Courts in the United States, 1984-1990. Archival Version. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.