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Prison Conditions and Recidivism

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  • Francesco Drago
  • Roberto Galbiati
  • Pietro Vertova

Abstract

The authors examine the impact of prison conditions on future criminal behavior. The take over is based on a unique dataset on the post-release behavior of about twenty thousand Italian former prison inmates. The authors use variation in prison assignment as a means of identifying the effects of prison overcrowding, deaths in prison, and degree of isolation on the probability of reoffending. They do not find compellingevidence of (specific) deterrent effects of experienced prison severity. The measures of prison severity do not reduce the probability of recidivism. Instead, all point estimates suggest that harsh prison conditions increase post-release criminal activity, though they are not always precisely estimated. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal American Law and Economics Review.

Volume (Year): 13 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 103-130

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Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:13:y:2011:i:1:p:103-130

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References

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  1. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Antonio Merlo & Peter Rupert, 2000. "What accounts for the decline in crime?," Working Paper 0008, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  2. Emily G. Owens, 2009. "More Time, Less Crime? Estimating the Incapacitative Effect of Sentence Enhancements," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(3), pages 551-579, 08.
  3. Di Tella, Rafael & Dubra, Juan, 2006. "Crime and Punishment in the "American Dream"," MPRA Paper 500, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Levitt, Steven D. & Miles, Thomas J., 2007. "Empirical Study of Criminal Punishment," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
  5. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  6. Giovanni Gallipoli & Giulio Fella, 2006. "Education and Crime over the Lifecycle," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 192, Society for Computational Economics.
  7. Kelly Bedard & Eric Helland, . "The Location of Women's Prisons and the Deterrence Effect of 'Harder' Time," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2000-06, Claremont Colleges.
  8. Joel Waldfogel, 1994. " The Effect of Criminal Conviction on Income and the Trust "Reposed in the Workmen"," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(1), pages 62-81.
  9. Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 163-190, Winter.
  10. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-95, September.
  11. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 45-76, March.
  12. Evans, William N. & Owens, Emily G., 2007. "COPS and crime," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 181-201, February.
  13. Lawrence Katz & Steven D. Levitt & Ellen Shustorovich, 2003. "Prison Conditions, Capital Punishment, and Deterrence," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 318-343, August.
  14. Ilyana Kuziemko, 2007. "Going Off Parole: How the Elimination of Discretionary Prison Release Affects the Social Cost of Crime," NBER Working Papers 13380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Eric Helland & Alexander Tabarrok, 2007. "Does Three Strikes Deter?: A Nonparametric Estimation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
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Cited by:
  1. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati, 2010. "Indirect Effects of a Policy Altering Criminal Behaviour: Evidence from the Italian Prison Experiment," CSEF Working Papers 270, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  2. Nathan Berg & Donald Lien, 2009. "Sexual orientation and self-reported lying," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 83-104, March.
  3. Entorf, Horst, 2012. "Certainty and Severity of Sanctions in Classical and Behavioral Models of Deterrence: A Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 6516, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Entorf, Horst, 2012. "Expected recidivism among young offenders: Comparing specific deterrence under juvenile and adult criminal law," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 414-429.
  5. Benjamin Monnery, 2013. "The determinants of recidivism among ex-prisoners: a survival analysis on French data," Working Papers 1320, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  6. Alain Cohn & Michel André Maréchal & Thomas Noll, 2013. "Bad boys: the effect of criminal identity on dishonesty," ECON - Working Papers 132, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.

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