Do Harsher Prison Conditions Reduce Recidivism? A Discontinuity-Based Approach
M. Keith Chen
Yale School of Management; Cowles Foundation
Jesse M. Shapiro
University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
American Law and Economics Review, Vol. 9, Issue 1, pp. 1-29, 2007
We estimate the causal effect of prison conditions on recidivism rates by exploiting a discontinuity in the assignment of federal prisoners to security levels. Inmates housed in higher security levels are no less likely to recidivate than those housed in minimum security; if anything, our estimates suggest that harsher prison conditions lead to more post-release crime. Though small sample sizes limit the precision of our estimates, we argue that our findings may have important implications for prison policy, and that our methodology is likely to be applicable beyond the particular context we study.
Keywords: K42, Z13, J62Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 16, 2008
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo5 in 4.079 seconds