Predicting criminal justice outcomes: what matters?
This report describes the authors' investigation of 2,263 male defendants charged with armed robbery or residential burglary in 14 urban areas across the nation. They sought to determine if certain case outcomes varied from one jurisdiction to another. They also attempted to determine if these outcomes were linked in any way with various case and defendant characteristics. The study considered all cases pending against a defendant, but the findings indicate that knowing whether or not a defendant faced overlapping charges contributed little to the prediction of case outcomes. The fate of a defendant was generally invariant across jurisdictions once case and defendant characteristics were held constant. The principal findings are twofold: (1) once a defendant is charged with an armed robbery or a residential burglary, there is a high probability that he will be convicted and incarcerated; and (2) that probability is generally unaffected by the urban county in which his case is adjudicated.
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DATA COLLECTION PROCEDURES
OUTCOME VARIABLE CHARACTERISTICS
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12 St Louis 13 Kansas City accuracy adjudication Angeles armed robbery Atlanta 1 Montgomery attorney Baltimore 3 San burglary and robbery burglary defendants Burglary Robbery Chicago 12 St City 14 Atlanta coders conviction rates County crime criminal incident Dallas 8 Manhattan database date of birth Detroit 11 Chicago Diego 4 Sacramento differences disposition Eyewitness factors felony filed Fingerprints found guilty Hispanic Identifying Overlapping improvement over chance incarceration jurisdictions Kansas City 14 Louis 13 Kansas lower court Manhattan 9 Queens misdemeanor Mo Day Yr Montgomery 2 Baltimore offender outcome rates outcome variables Penal Code percent percentage plea pleaded guilty police prediction system Prior adult prior record prison project definition prosecutor decided Queens 10 Detroit RAND Relationship between outcome residential burglary Robbery 1 Montgomery robbery defendants sample frame sample universe includes sampled defendant sampled incident sampled offense San Diego sentence St Louis 13 standard error Table upper court Worth 7 Dallas