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Perceptual Deterrence and Desistance from Crime: A Study of Repetitive Serious Property Offenders in Tennessee, 1987-1988

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Shover, Neal
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice
Free Keywords
arrest records; crime prevention; criminal histories; criminality prediction; deterrence; prison inmates; property crimes; recidivists; risk assessment
  • Abstract

    For this data collection, offenders confined to prison were surveyed to examine the utility of deterrence theory variables as predictors of differential desistance from serious property crimes. The investigators also examined subjects' "criminal calculus," that is, their expectations of the likely gains and losses of further criminal behavior and the conditions under which they likely would commit further crimes. Specifically, the data explored whether decisions to commit crime are based on assessment of potential returns from alternate courses of action and the risk of legal sanctions. Sixty repeat offenders who had served one or more prison sentences were asked about their history of criminal activity, reasons for committing crimes, expectations of future criminal activities, and likely consequences of committing crimes. Data were collected in pre-release interviews in 1987 and 1988 as part of a larger study. Variables include age, education, age at first arrest, alcohol and drug use as a juvenile, as a young adult, and as a mature adult, past crimes, willingness to commit specific property crimes, reasons for being willing or unwilling to commit specific property crimes, expectations of arrest subsequent to actual crimes committed, and the likelihood of future criminal activity.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • 1987 / 1988
    Time period: 1987--1988
  • 1987-01 / 1988-12
    Collection date: 1987-01--1988-12
Geographic Coverage
  • Tennessee
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Jail and prison inmates in Tennessee with a demonstrated preference for property crimes.
All members of the sample were nearing completion of a jail or prison sentence, and were selected for their demonstrated preference for property crimes. Of 75 inmates asked to participate in the study, 60 agreed to answer questionnaires. Fifty-eight of the subjects had served at least one prison sentence, while the other two had served one or more jail sentences.
Collection Mode
  • The codebook for this collection 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.

1999-11-19 SAS and SPSS data definition statements and a PDF codebook have been added to this collection. Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (86-IJ-CX-0068).
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
  • 9971 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR09971.v1
  • Shover, Neal, Henderson, Belinda. Repressive crime control and male persistent thieves. Crime and Public Policy: Putting Theory to Work.Boulder, CO: Westview Press. 1995.
  • Shover, Neal, Honaker, David. The Socially Bounded Decision-Making of Persistent Property Offenders. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice.31, (4), 276-293.1992.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.1468-2311.1992.tb00748.x (DOI)
  • Shover, Neal, Honaker, David. Socially Bounded Decision Making of Persistent Property Offenders. NCJ 133530, Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. 1991.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Honaker, David W.. Aging, Peers, and the Propensity for Crime: A Contextual Analysis of Criminal Decision-Making. Thesis, University of Tennessee. 1990.
  • Tunnel, K.D.. Choosing Crime: Close Your Eyes and Take Your Chances. Justice Quarterly.7, 673-690.1990.
    • ID: 10.1080/07418829000090811 (DOI)
  • Tunnell, Kenneth D.. Property criminals as the lumpen proletariat: A serendipitous finding. Nature, Society, and Thought.3, (1), 39-55.1990.
  • Tunnel, K.D.. Doing Crime: An Analysis of Repetitive Property Offenders' Decision-Making. Dissertation, University of Tennessee. 1988.

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

Shover, Neal (1993): Perceptual Deterrence and Desistance from Crime: A Study of Repetitive Serious Property Offenders in Tennessee, 1987-1988. Archival Version. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.