CentER Discussion Paper No. 2010-141
52 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2011 Last revised: 27 Jan 2011
Date Written: January 12, 2011
Making the length of a prison sentence conditional on an individual’s offense history is shown to be a powerful way of preventing crime. Under a law adopted in the Netherlands in 2001, prolific offenders could be sentenced to a prison term that was some ten times longer than usual. We exploit quasi-experimental variation in the moment of introduction and the frequency of application across 12 urban areas to identify the effect. We find the sentence enhancements to have dramatically reduced theft rates. The size of the crime-reducing effect is found to be subject to sharply diminishing returns.
Keywords: prolific offenders, incarceration, selective incapacitation, three strikes laws
JEL Classification: K42, K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Vollaard, Ben, Preventing Crime Through Selective Incapacitation (January 12, 2011). CentER Discussion Paper No. 2010-141. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1738900 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1738900