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The Effectiveness of Juvenile Correctional Facilities: Public versus Private Management

  • Patrick Bayer

    ()

    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • David E. Pozen

This paper uses data on juvenile offenders released from correctional facilities in Florida to explore the effects of facility management type (private for-profit, private nonprofit, public state-operated, and public county-operated) on recidivism outcomes and costs. The data provide detailed information on individual characteristics, criminal and correctional histories, judge-assigned restrictiveness levels, and home zipcodes—allowing us to control for the non-random assignment of individuals to facilities far better than any previous study. Relative to all other management types, for-profit management leads to a statistically significant increase in recidivism, but, relative to nonprofit and state-operated facilities, for-profit facilities operate at a lower cost to the government per comparable individual released. Costbenefit analysis implies that the short-run savings offered by for-profit over nonprofit management are negated in the long run due to increased recidivism rates, even if one measures the benefits of reducing criminal activity as only the avoided costs of additional confinement.

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File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp863.pdf
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Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 863.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2003
Date of revision: Nov 2004
Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:863
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  1. Anderson, David A, 1999. "The Aggregate Burden of Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 611-42, October.
  2. Kenneth Avio, 1998. "The Economics of Prisons," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 143-175, September.
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