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Pilot Study for Collecting Data from Arrestees and an Analysis of the Quality of Self-Disclosure: Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2001
128 pages
This report details a pilot project funded by the National Institute of Justice and conducted by the New York City Police Department which developed an interview schedule that systematically measured arrestee awareness of and contact with various policing initiatives.
Eight hundred ninety-two participants interviewed in the second half of 1999 completed the Policing Supplement to the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) interview. Participants reported their awareness of and contacts with police for more than 80 offenses. They gave informed consent for researchers to obtain their official criminal histories. Results revealed that self-reports of illicit drug use were quite concordant with urinalysis results for substantial majorities of the participants. The concordance and denial rates were comparable to and sometimes better than those in similar high-risk populations. Participants were also quite accurate in disclosing whether they had been arrested or in jail or prison in their lifetime. However, they were not accurate in disclosing whether or not they had been arrested in their lifetimes for more serious crimes such as robbery and other index crimes. About an eighth of the arrestees were confirmed as having no prior arrests. About one third were confirmed to have no jail episodes. Two thirds were confirmed as never on probation. Three fourths were confirmed as never in New York State prisons. The nature and extent in participants’ self-reports varied greatly depending on the specific contact with the criminal justice system being measured. The precision of arrestees’ self-reports was not high, but clear denial or concealment of criminal justice contacts was also not high. The analysis concluded that overreporting and underreporting were generally similar in magnitude ad suggested the need for future research on the truthfulness of arrestee self-reports and the implications for evaluating other arrestee reports of criminal behavior and the impacts of policing initiatives. Figures, tables, and 59 references

Date Published: April 1, 2001