New York State Incarceration Data

New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS)

Information on individuals over the age of 18 who are or have been incarcerated in a New York State prison.

Unit of Observation:
Individual incarceration episode
Personally Identifiable Information Available for Linking:
New York, United States of America
Years Available:
Frequency of Updates:
Annual. Lag time is unknown. Some data are updated more frequently.

All individuals incarcerated in a New York State prison except youthful offenders (i.e., 18 or younger at the time of the offense), those who have had their convictions reversed by a court, and certain previously incarcerated non-violent offenders who are covered by a special provision which removes information on incarceration episodes for relatively minor crimes.


Data are available by request to professional researchers and doctoral students. Researchers must contact the DOCCS Division of Program Planning, Research, and Evaluation. Researchers must submit a research agreement and an application for data access (detailed in section III of the DOCCS directive) which includes the title of the study, contact information for all research staff, an endorsement by a recognized research organization, evidence of IRB approval, justification for the research and possibility of publication. In addition, DOCCS requires researchers to submit a detailed research design document including the DOCCS resources and personnel that may be needed for the study, the criteria and procedures for selection of subject or records for the research, and a data security plan.

DOCCS notes that the benefit to their department must outweight the resources required to carry out the research for the project to be approved. If the request is approved, an NDA may be required. Researchers may then send datasets to DOCCS to be matched with the incarceration data. DOCCS will perform the match, remove any personally identifiable information, and return de-identified data to the researcher. DOCCS will not release identified information.

Timeline for Access

Data are updated and reported annually. Some variables are updated more frequently.

The timeline for approving a research request depends on the complexity of the proposal, the variables requested, and the number of DOCCS offices which need to approve the request. Research proposals are reviewed in February, May, and October.

After approval, the timeline for data access and matching depends on the complexity of the request and DOCCS staff capacity.

Lag Time



Access to records is free.


Researchers must submit a list of individuals for whom records are requested to DOCCS. The specific procedure and required variables for linking are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. DOCCS will strip personally identifiable information from the resulting file. It is unknown whether DOCCS will permit the use of a de-identified “Study ID” for linking with additional data sets.

Identifiers Available for Linking

  • Date of birth
  • First and last name
  • Social Security number

Data Contents

Partial List of Variables

Date of admission, date of release, community supervision participation

J-PAL Randomized Evaluations Using this Data Set

Gelber, Alexander, Adam Isen and Judd B. Kessler. 2016. "The Effects of Youth Employment - Evidence from New York City Summer Youth Employment Program Lotteries." Quarterly Journal of Economics 131 (1): 423-460. doi:10.1093/qje/qjv034

Last reviewed