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Investment in Human Capital during Incarceration and Employment Prospects of Prisoners

Author

Listed:
  • Giles, Margaret

    () (Edith Cowan University)

  • Le, Anh T.

    () (Curtin University)

Abstract

The costs of incarceration and recidivism to the community are substantial. These costs not only include the direct costs of imprisonment but also the opportunity costs arising from depletion of human capital and loss of output. Policy makers have emphasised the importance of rehabilitating prisoners as a way of reducing recidivism. Consequently, the management of prisoners has changed, with more prisoners being encouraged to undertake some form of education, training and/or work during their incarceration in conjunction with any behavioural management programmes. This paper examines, using the 2003 Survey of Prisoners in Western Australia, the decision of prisoners to invest in education/training during their prison term and the potential labour market outcomes of this investment. The results suggest that prisoners use education/training to improve their skills in preparation for release from prison. From this perspective it can be argued that these prisoners see education/training as an investment in human capital rather than consumption. In addition, the decision to participate in either education or training is non-random and varies across the time remaining on the prison sentence, thus suggesting prisoners view education and training as different activities. However, the results show the expected benefit prisoners place on education and training is similar.

Suggested Citation

  • Giles, Margaret & Le, Anh T., 2009. "Investment in Human Capital during Incarceration and Employment Prospects of Prisoners," IZA Discussion Papers 4582, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4582
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. E. Roy Weintraub & Evelyn L. Forget, 2007. "Introduction," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 39(5), pages 1-6, Supplemen.
    2. Anh T. Le & Paul W. Miller, 2000. "An Evaluation of Inertia Models of Unemployment," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 33(3), pages 205-220.
    3. Anh Le & Paul Miller, 2004. "School-leaving Decisions in Australia: A Cohort Analysis," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 39-65.
    4. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 155-189, March.
    5. Anh T. Le & Paul W. Miller, 2004. "High School Graduation in Australia: Do Schools Matter?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 194-208, May.
    6. Cho, Rosa & LaLonde, Robert J., 2005. "The Impact of Incarceration in State Prison on the Employment Prospects of Women," IZA Discussion Papers 1792, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Harry J. Holzer & Steven Raphael & Michael A. Stoll, 2001. "Will Employers Hire Ex-Offenders? Employer Preferences, Background Checks, and Their Determinants," JCPR Working Papers 238, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    prisoners; education; training; employment;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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