Impact of Rape Reform Legislation in Six Major Urban Jurisdictions in the United States, 1970-1985 [electronic resource] / Julie Horney, Cassia Spohn

Data file
ICPSR Version, 2006-03-30.
Ann Arbor, Mich. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor] 1998.
13 data files + machine-readable documentation (PDF) + SAS setup file(s) + SPSS setup file(s) + Stata setup file(s) + SAS transport + SPSS portable + Stata system


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Use of these data are restricted to Princeton University students, faculty, and staff for non-commercial statistical analysis and research purposes only.
Summary note
Despite the fact that most states enacted rape reform legislation by the mid-1980s, empirical research on the effect of these laws was conducted in only four states and for a limited time span following the reform. The purpose of this study was to provide both increased breadth and depth of information about the effect of the rape law changes and the legal issues that surround them. Statistical data on all rape cases between 1970 and 1985 in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, were collected from court records. Monthly time-series analyses were used to assess the impact of the reforms on rape reporting, indictments, convictions, incarcerations, and sentences. The study also sought to determine if particular changes, or particular combinations of changes, affected the case processing and disposition of sexual assault cases and whether the effect of the reforms varied with the comprehensiveness of the changes. In each jurisdiction, data were collected on all forcible rape cases for which an indictment or information was filed. In addition to forcible rape, other felony sexual assaults that did not involve children were included. The names and definitions of these crimes varied from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. To compare the pattern of rape reports with general crime trends, reports of robbery and felony assaults during the same general time period were also obtained from the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) from the Federal Bureau of Investigation when available. For the adjudicated case data (Parts 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11), variables include month and year of offense, indictment, disposition, four most serious offenses charged, total number of charges indicted, four most serious conviction charges, total number of conviction charges, type of disposition, type of sentence, and maximum jail or prison sentence. The time series data (Parts 2, 4... Cf.:
Title from ICPSR DDI metadata of 2006-09-15.
Type of data
13 data files + machine-readable documentation (PDF) + SAS setup file(s) + SPSS setup file(s) + Stata setup file(s) + SAS transport + SPSS portable + Stata system
Time and place of event
Start: 1970; and end: 1985.
Geographic coverage
United States
Funding information
United States Department of Justice. NationalInstitute of Justice, and the National Science Foundation. 85-IJ-CX-0048 and SES-8508323
System details
Mode of access: Internet.
Methodology note
  • Data source: Official court records were the source of data on adjudicated cases. The procedures to obtain data on sexual assault cases varied from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In Atlanta, all data were obtained from court docket books in which all felony cases were entered. Data collectors looked at all felony cases from 1970 through 1985 and selected the sexual assault cases. In Chicago and Houston, lists of all targeted cases were made from docket listings of all felony cases, and then the case files were pulled to obtain the necessary information. In Washington, DC, a listing of the target cases was obtained through the prosecutor's computerized system, and then court files were pulled to code the information. In Detroit, docket listings of all felony cases were used for the first six years, and after that the target cases were pulled through the court's computerized system (docket listings were not available for the remaining years). In Philadelphia, all necessary information was obtained from the court's computerized system (no docket books were available). Data on rapes reported to the police in each jurisdiction and additional burglary and assault data in Detroit and Houston were obtained from the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). For Chicago, data were not available for 1984 and 1985 because figures furnished by the state-level UCR program were not in accordance with national UCR guidelines. Interviews were conducted with criminal justice personnel in each site to obtain their attitudes toward evidence in sexual assault cases.... Cf.:
  • Universe: All rape cases in the United States, prior to and after legislative reforms.
Part 1: Atlanta Adjudicated Cases Data; Part 2: Atlanta Time Series Data; Part 3: Chicago Adjudicated Cases Data; Part 4: Chicago Time Series Data; Part 5: Detroit Adjudicated Cases Data; Part 6: Detroit Time Series Data; Part 7: Houston Adjudicated Cases Data; Part 8: Houston Time Series Data; Part 9: Philadelphia Adjudicated Cases Data; Part 10: Philadelphia Time Series Data; Part 11: Washington, DC, Adjudicated Cases Data; Part 12: Washington, DC, Time Series Data; Part 13: Interview Data
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