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NCJ Number: 148021 Find in a Library
Title: Rap Sheets in Criminological Research: Considerations and Caveats
Journal: Journal of Quantitative Criminology  Volume:10  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1994)  Pages:3-21
Author(s): M R Geerken
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 19
Grant Number: 86-IJ-CX-0021; 90-IJ-CX-0019
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article outlines the methodological problems that rap sheet data may introduce to criminological research; the study focuses on the adequacy of official criminal history data for estimating an individual's criminal activity.
Abstract: The analysis, using a database of New Orleans offenders' rap sheets, revealed gross distortions of the effects of variables related to geographic mobility, including race and age. Additional evidence indicates that false-negative error is a serious methodological problem, particularly in fingerprint-based record systems. Researchers frequently misinterpret arrest records by failing to identify multievent arrests, misclassifying arrests, and treating arrest or custody process events as crimes indicating criminal activity of the individual while free. Some of the solutions suggested here include merging multiple official databases, merging court and corrections databases with arrest databases, actively searching for duplication within databases, and consistently counting correctional process charges. 6 tables and 10 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Arrest records; Criminal histories; Louisiana; Research methods
Note: NIJ Reprint
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