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Official Record Information

Official record information regarding arrests and court involvement is regularly integrated into the Pathways data bases. This information comes from the juvenile and adult court record information systems at each site. In Philadelphia, this involves a hand review of juvenile and adult court documents; in Phoenix, we receive automated reports from their computerized court tracking systems (e.g. JOLTS- Juvenile On-Line Tracking System for juvenile court information, ICIS - Maricopa County Superior Court database for their adult court information). Agreements with both the juvenile and adult court systems in Phoenix permit data transfer on a daily (juvenile court) or monthly (adult court) basis. In addition, we obtain FBI records for arrests reported nationwide for study participants on a yearly basis.

Information from these different data sources is consolidated into the following categories:

  1. Information regarding petitions prior to the baseline interview date (those juvenile court appearances occurring before the date of the baseline interview)
  2. Information regarding the study index petition (also called the initial referring petition; the adjudication that prompted study enrollment).
  3. Information regarding arrests and court petitions which occurred after the baseline interview date in the Pathways study (called re-arrests).
  4. Information regarding court-ordered juvenile placement.

Some important distinctions about petitions

Distinctions between court petitions (priors, initial referring and rearrest) are for our study purposes only and are not based on any court categorization. They are derived using the following logic, which is simply applicable to the time frames covered by study involvement. Each study participant has one initial referring petition. This is the petition which is linked to enrollment in the Pathways study; that is, it is the court petition upon which selection for the study was based. Petitions prior to the baseline interview date include the initial referring petition as well as any other petition before the baseline interview date. All court petitions that occur following the baseline interview date are here referred to as a "re-arrests".

Another important distinction should be noted. The data regarding "prior petitions" considers only arrests that lead to a petition to court. As such, it does not necessarily account for all arrests experienced by the study participant prior to the baseline interview for the Pathways study (since some arrests do not lead to a petition in court). Re-arrests, on the other hand, are not limited to only incidents that make it to a court appearance. Incidents resulting in just an arrest could be detected in the FBI data bases used.

Most Serious Adjudicated Charge

The adjudication status noted in the court records regarding the Pathways study initial referring petition were examined and coded to determine the most serious adjudicated charge. This most serious adjudicated charge was the basis for study eligibility. Adjudication status was only a factor for the study initial referring petition, it is not available for the priors and/or rearrests.

Severity Ranking

All charges appearing on the study initial referring petition as well as priors and rearrests were assigned a severity ranking using the Gottfredson severity ranking system (Gottfredson & Baron (1993) Deinstitutionalization of juvenile offenders. Criminology, 31, 592-611). The charge on each petition/arrest that is the most serious according to this ranking system is provided along with the grade and rank value. Of note, this determination is made independent of whether the individual was found guilty (adjudicated) of the charge. Furthermore, the FBI records include arresting charges that may later be dropped. Both of these situations (adjudication status and potentially dropped charges) should be considered when interpreting this data. More details about the coding procedures are available through the study Coordinating Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

Binary indicators by petition

For each petition/arrest we also provide a series of binary indicators of the types of other charges appearing on the petition/arrest record. We provided this information since specific charge information is only provided for the charge of the highest severity. A binary marker (yes/no) is provided to indicate the presence of a person crime (e.g. aggravated assaulted, murder), property crime charge (e.g., robbery, receiving stolen property), weapons (e.g. possession of unlicensed firearm), sex offense (e.g. rape, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse) drug (e.g. possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver) and substance use (e.g. drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, knowing/intentionally possessing controlled substance and other crimes that could be confounded with substance use). More details about the coding procedures are available through the study Coordinating Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

The variables below reflect information from official court records. These are not based on self report. Self report information regarding monthly arrests is available in the "Contacts with the Justice System" calendar codebook section.

Summary Variables available

Below we list the specific variables available in three broad areas: context (adult vs. juvenile court, study site), petitions and court ordered placements.



Initial Referring

Priors before Baseline (excludes initial referring petition)

Technically, the study initial referring petition is a "prior" in the sense that it is a petition which falls before the baseline interview. We have separated the initial referring petition from priors for our purposes here because the initial referring petition has more information associated with it than the other prior petitions. However, for a complete understanding of petitions prior to the baseline interview, the information regarding the initial referring petition should be included.

The series noted below repeats for a maximum of 15 prior petitions


The series noted below (through Rearrest_Subuse##) repeats for a maximum of 24 rearrests

Court placement variables

The following summary variables regarding court-ordered placements are available. Each variable is repeated for a maximum of eight times.

Soon to come:

Medicaid: We obtained information regarding services provided to study participants who were covered by Medicaid during the recall period. Summary variables based on these records will be available in the near future.

Child welfare: We also reviewed records to determine whether the study participant was involved in the child welfare system. Summary variables based on this record review will be available in the near future.

Drug Screening: We received information regarding drug screening results for amphetamines, cocaine, THC and Opiates. Summary information from these records will be available in the near future.

Death Records: We obtained information from the National Death Index regarding Pathways study participants who were not located. Summary information from these records will be available in the near future.