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Prison Work and Convict Rehabilitation

Giulio Zanella ()

No 13446, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: I study the causal pathways that link prison work programs to convict rehabilitation, leveraging administrative data from Italy and combining quasi-experimental and structural econometric methods to achieve both a credible identification and the isolation of mechanisms. Due to competing channels, I find that work in unskilled prison jobs impacts convicts on longer or shorter terms differently. Increasing work time by 16 hours per month reduces by between 3 and 10 percentage points the reincarceration rate, within three years of release, of convicts on terms longer than six months – because prison work counteracts the rapid depreciation of earning ability experienced by these convicts. For those on shorter terms, the analogous increase leads instead to a re-incarceration rate that is up to 9 percentage points higher, because of a liquidity effect that weakens deterrence.

Keywords: prison labor; prisoner rehabilitation; crime; recidivism; re-incarceration (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J47 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 66 pages
Date: 2020-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law and nep-lma
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