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Life after prison The relationship between employment and re-incarceration

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Abstract

We explore the relationship between formal employment and recidivism using a dataset that follows every Norwegian resident released from prison in 2003 for several years. By the end of 2006, 27 percent are re-incarcerated. Using a Cox proportional hazard model that controls for a host of individual characteristics, we find that the hazard of re-incarceration is 63 percent lower for those getting employed compared to those not getting employed. While some of the moderating association between employment and re-incarceration is accounted for by observable individual characteristics, the substantially lower hazard for those getting employed indicates a possibility of a considerable benign effect of employment on recidivism. Our analysis thus provides further indication that provision of employment opportunities can facilitate the return to society after release from prison.

Suggested Citation

  • Torbjørn Skardhamar & Kjetil Telle, 2009. "Life after prison The relationship between employment and re-incarceration," Discussion Papers 597, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:597
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    File URL: https://www.ssb.no/a/publikasjoner/pdf/DP/dp597.pdf
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    1. Becker, Gary S, 1993. "Nobel Lecture: The Economic Way of Looking at Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 385-409, June.
    2. Jeffrey Grogger, 1995. "The Effect of Arrests on the Employment and Earnings of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 51-71.
    3. Roed, Knut & Zhang, Tao, 2005. "Unemployment duration and economic incentives--a quasi random-assignment approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1799-1825, October.
    4. Røed, Knut & Westlie, Lars, 2007. "Unemployment Insurance in Welfare States: Soft Constraints and Mild Sanctions," IZA Discussion Papers 2877, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Brinch, Christian N., 2007. "Nonparametric Identification Of The Mixed Hazards Model With Time-Varying Covariates," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(02), pages 349-354, April.
    6. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-565, May-June.
    7. Fergusson, David M. & John Horwood, L. & Woodward, Lianne J., 2001. "Unemployment and psychosocial adjustment in young adults: causation or selection?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 305-320, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Benjamin Monnery, 2013. "The determinants of recidivism among ex-prisoners: a survival analysis on French data," Working Papers halshs-00822847, HAL.
    2. Bence Czafit & János Köllő, 2015. "Employment and wages before and after incarceration – evidence from Hungary," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-21, December.
    3. Synøve Nygaard Andersen & Torbjørn Skardhamar, 2014. "Pick a number. Mapping recidivism measures and their consequences," Discussion Papers 772, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    4. Thomas Søbirk Petersen, 2016. "Some Ethical Considerations on the use of Criminal Records in the Labor Market: in Defense of a New Practice," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 443-453, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    prison; recidivism; employment;

    JEL classification:

    • J19 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Other
    • K49 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Other

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