Transitional Aid for Released Prisoners: Evidence from the Life Experiment
Findings are presented from a controlled experiment designed to test the effectiveness of transitional aid programs for ex-prisoners in reducing theft crimes. Upon release from prison, a sample of men with high (ex ante) probabilities of committing theft crimes were enrolled in treatment and control groups. One year after release, a group receiving financial aid had significantly fewer arrests for theft crimes than did the controls. Calculations of the social benefit/cost ratio show that the benefits of transitional income maintenance substantially outweighed the costs. In contrast, the provision of job-placement assistance turned out to have no significant effect on post-release behavior.
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