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Does Prison Harden Inmates? A Discontinuity-based Approach

Keith Chen and Jesse Shapiro ()

Law and Economics from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: Some two million Americans are currently incarcerated, with roughly six hundred thousand to be released this year. Despite this, little is known about the effects of confinement on the post-release lives of inmates. Focusing on post-release criminal activity, we identify the effect of prison conditions on recidivism rates by exploiting a discontinuity in the assignment of federal prisoners to security levels. We find that worsening prison conditions significantly increases post-release crime, and that this increase is skewed towards the commission of violent crimes.

Keywords: prisons; regression discontinuity; security level (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law
Date: 2003-04-21
Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on HP; pages: 29 ; figures: included
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (14) Track citations by RSS feed

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:wpa:wuwple:0304003

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