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An Institutionalization Effect: The Impact of Mental Hospitalization and Imprisonment on Homicide in the United States, 1934 - 2001

Resource Type
Dataset : administrative records data, aggregate data, census/enumeration data
  • Harcourt, Bernard (University of Chicago)
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
convicted offender incapacitation; correctional facilities; crime statistics; homicide; imprisonment; inmate populations; institutionalization (persons); mental health; mental hospitals; mental patients; violent crime; violent crime statistics
  • Abstract

    This data set explored the effect of imprisonment on violent crime rates prior to 1991. Previous research focused exclusively on rates of imprisonment, rather than using a measure that combines institutionalization in both prisons and mental hospitals. Using state-level panel-data regressions over the 68-year period from 1934 to 2001 and controlling for economic conditions, youth population rates, criminal justice enforcement, and demographic factors, this study found a large, robust, and statistically significant relationship between aggregated institutionalization (in mental hospitals and prisons) and homicide rates. This finding provided strong evidence of what should now be called an institutionalization effect -- rather than an imprisonment or incapacitation effect. Demographic information collected include national unemployment rates and institutional race and age composition.
  • 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: State Level Data
    • DS2: National Data
Temporal Coverage
  • 1934 / 2001
    Time period: 1934--2001
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Prision and mental hospital populations Smallest Geographic Unit: state
Collection Mode
  • record abstracts

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
  • 34986 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR34986.v1
  • Harcourt, Bernard. An institutionalization effect: The impact of mental hospitalization and imprisionment on homicide in the United States, 1934-2001. Journal of Legal Studies.40, 39-83.2011.
    • ID: (URL)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-16

Harcourt, Bernard (2014): An Institutionalization Effect: The Impact of Mental Hospitalization and Imprisonment on Homicide in the United States, 1934 - 2001. Archival Version. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.