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Predicting Criminal Recidivism Using "Split Population" Survival Time Models


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  • Peter Schmidt
  • Ann Dryden Witte


In this paper we develop a survival time model in which the probability of eventual failure is less than one, and in which both the probability of eventual failure and the timing of failure depend (separately) on individual characteristics. We apply this model to data on the tiring of return to prison for a sample of prison releasees, and we use it to make predictions of whether or not individuals return to prison. Our predictions are more accurate than previous predictions of criminal recidivism. The model we develop has potential applications in economics: far example, it could tie used to model the probability of default and the timing of default on loans.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2445.

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Date of creation: Nov 1987
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Econometrics, Vol. 40, No. 1, (January 1989).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2445

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  1. Hoffman, Peter B. & Stone-Meierhoefer, Barbara, 1979. "Post release arrest experiences of federal prisoners: A six-year follow-up," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 193-216.
  2. Goldfeld, Stephen M. & Quandt, Richard E., 1981. "Econometric modelling with non-normal disturbances," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 141-155, November.
  3. Janus, Michael G., 1985. "Selective incapacitation: Have we tried it? Does it work?," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 117-129.
  4. Kiefer, Nicholas M., 1985. "Specification diagnostics based on Laguerre alternatives for econometric models of duration," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 135-154, April.
  5. Boyes, William J. & Hoffman, Dennis L. & Low, Stuart A., 1989. "An econometric analysis of the bank credit scoring problem," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 3-14, January.
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