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Do Harsher Prison Conditions Reduce Recidivism? A Discontinuity-based Approach

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  • Jesse M. Shapiro
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    Abstract

    We estimate the causal effect of prison conditions on recidivism rates by exploiting a discontinuity in the assignment of federal prisoners to security levels. Inmates housed in higher security levels are no less likely to recidivate than those housed in minimum security; if anything, our estimates suggest that harsher prison conditions lead to more post-release crime. Though small sample sizes limit the precision of our estimates, we argue that our findings may have important implications for prison policy, and that our methodology is likely to be applicable beyond the particular context we study. Copyright 2007, Oxford University Press.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/aler/ahm006
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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 9 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 1-29

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:9:y:2007:i:1:p:1-29

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    Cited by:
    1. Volokh, Alexander, 2010. "Privatization, free riding, and industry-expanding lobbying," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 62-70, March.
    2. 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.
    3. Arlen Guarin & Carlos Medina & Jorge Andres Tamayo, 2013. "The Effects of Punishment of Crime in Colombia on Deterrence, Incapacitation, and Human Capital Formation," Research Department Publications IDB-WP-420, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    4. Maurin, Eric & Ouss, Aurelie, 2009. "Sentence Reductions and Recidivism: Lessons from the Bastille Day Quasi Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 3990, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. 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.
    6. 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.

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