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The Quality of Life in Prisons: Do Educational Programs Reduce In-prison Conflicts?

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  • María Laura Alzúa

    (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - FCE - UNLP y CONICET)

  • Catherine Rodriguez

    (Universidad de los Andes)

  • Edgar Villa

    (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana)

Abstract

The harshness of punishment society chooses to impose on crime offenders is mandated by law. However, the quality of life in prison can make this punishment harsher. This creates a variation in the severity of punishment which is not legislated and may differ from society's taste for penalties. Indicators of in prison violence and conflicts seem to be appropriate proxy variables for prison conditions. Using indicators of in prison violent behavior, we use an exogenous source in education participation in educational programs in order to asses the effect of education on such measures of conflict. Applying instrumental variables techniques to census data for Argentine prisons, we find that educational programs significantly reduce indicators of property damages in prison. Such reductions amounts to a 60 percent decrease relative to the mean level of property damages.

Suggested Citation

  • María Laura Alzúa & Catherine Rodriguez & Edgar Villa, 2009. "The Quality of Life in Prisons: Do Educational Programs Reduce In-prison Conflicts?," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0091, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  • Handle: RePEc:dls:wpaper:0091
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John H. Tyler & Jeffrey R. Kling, 2004. "Prison-Based Education and Re-Entry into the Mainstream Labor Market," Working Papers 12, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    2. Di Tella, Rafael & Dubra, Juan, 2008. "Crime and punishment in the "American Dream"," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1564-1584, July.
    3. 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.
    4. M. Grubb, 2003. "Editorial," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 189-190, September.
    5. Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson & David Pozen, 2009. "Building Criminal Capital behind Bars: Peer Effects in Juvenile Corrections," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 105-147.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2013. "Criminal Recidivism after Prison and Electronic Monitoring," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(1), pages 28-73.
    2. Oscar Barriga, 2012. "Conductas violentas y hacinamiento carcelario," Revista Desarrollo y Sociedad, Universidad de los Andes,Facultad de Economía, CEDE, June.

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    Keywords

    Quality of life; prison; conflict; educational programs; education;
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