Measuring perceptions of appropriate prison sentences in the United States, 2000 [electronic resource].

Cohen, Mark A. [Browse]
Data file
ICPSR version.
Ann Arbor, MI : Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2004.
Extent of collection: 8 data files + machine-readable documentation (PDF) + SAS data definition statements + SPSS data definition statements.


Restrictions note
Use of these data is restricted to Princeton University students, faculty, and staff for non-commercial statistical analysis and research purposes only.
Summary note
This study examined the public's preferences regarding sentencing and parole of criminal offenders. It also investigated the public's willingness to pay for particular crime prevention and control strategies and tested new methods for gathering this kind of information from the public. This involved asking the public to respond to a series of crime vignettes that involved constrained choice. The study consisted of a telephone survey of 1,300 adult respondents conducted in 2000 in the United States. Following a review by a panel of experts and extensive pretesting, the final instrument was programmed for computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI). The questionnaire specifically focused on: (1) the attitudes of the public on issues such as the number of police on the street, civil rights of minority groups, and the legal rights of people accused of serious crimes, (2) the randomized evaluation of preferred sentencing alternatives for eight different crime scenarios, (3) making parole decisions in a constrained choice setting by assuming that there is only enough space for one of two offenders, (4) the underlying factors that motivate the public's parole decisions, and (5) respondents' willingness to pay for various crime prevention strategies.
  • Codebook available in print and electronic format.
  • Title from title screen (viewed on August 21, 2006).
Type of data
Extent of collection: 8 data files + machine-readable documentation (PDF) + SAS data definition statements + SPSS data definition statements.
Time and place of event
  • Date(s) of collection: May 16, 2000-August 8, 2000.
  • Time period: May 16, 2000-August 8, 2000.
Geographic coverage
Geographic coverage: United States.
Funding information
  • Funding agency: United States Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.
  • Grant Number: 99-CE-VX-0001.
System details
  • Mode of access: World Wide Web.
  • Data format: Logical Record Length with SAS, SPSS, and Stata setup files, SAS transport file, and SPSS portable file.
  • Extent of processing: ICPSR produced a codebook, generated SAS and SPSS data definition statements, and reformatted the data and documentation.
Methodology note
  • Data source: data were obtained through computer-assisted telephone interviews.
  • Sample: a random-digit dial (RDD) sample, Type B, of 4,966 phone numbers in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, was obtained from Survey Sampling, Inc. The sample was produced by selecting randomly generated telephone numbers in proportion to the number of listed telephone numbers in each working telephone block. A block is a contiguous set of 100 telephone numbers within an active telephone area code and exchange combination, such as 555-555-3300 to 555-555-3399. This type of sample yields high efficiency, with the chance of selecting working numbers ranging between 55 percent and 75 percent, in contrast to the 24-percent chance of selecting a working number with a pure random-digit sample. Although a potential for bias could exist with the Random Digit B sample, no actual bias has been encountered. In an effort to select a representative sample of adults within each household, the last birthday method of screening was used. Upon contacting a potential respondent, interviewers asked to speak with the adult in the household over 18 who had had the most recent birthday. If the selected person was not available, the interviewer arranged a callback, for a specific date and time if possible, to speak with the eligible person. Once an eligible respondent had been identified in a specific household, there could never be a substitution.
  • Universe: adults 18 and over living in the United States.
Cite as
Cohen, Mark A., Roland T. Rust, and Sara Steen. MEASURING PERCEPTIONS OF APPROPRIATE PRISON SENTENCES IN THE UNITED STATES, 2000 [Computer file]. ICPSR version. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University [producer], 2000. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2004.
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