(Crime) School is in Session: Mapping Illegal Earnings to Institutional Placement

54 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2013 Last revised: 7 Mar 2013

See all articles by Holly Nguyen

Holly Nguyen

University of Maryland - Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Thomas Loughran

University of Maryland

Ray Paternoster

University of Maryland - Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice

Jeffrey Fagan

Columbia Law School

Alex R. Piquero

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences; Griffith University

Date Written: March 1, 2013

Abstract

A growing consensus suggests that incarcerating offenders tends to have either null or criminogenic effects at both the individual and neighborhood levels. There is also further evidence that there are unintended consequences of incarcerating juvenile offenders such as delayed psychosocial development and school dropout. The current study considers a much less examined hypothesis — that correctional environments can facilitate the accumulation of “criminal capital” and might actually encourage offending by serving as a school of crime. Using unique panel data from a sample of serious juvenile offenders, we are able to identify the criminal capital effect by considering illegal earnings and information regarding institutional stays over a seven year period. We have two separate measures that tap into the different mechanisms by which offenders can acquire criminal capital within institutions: the prevalence of friends in the facility who have committed income generating crimes and the length of institutional stays as a cumulative dosage. We find that both facility measures have independent positive effects on an individual’s daily illegal wage rate, even after controlling for important time varying covariates. Theoretical and policy implications are discussed.

Suggested Citation

Nguyen, Holly and Loughran, Thomas and Paternoster, Ray and Fagan, Jeffrey and Piquero, Alex R., (Crime) School is in Session: Mapping Illegal Earnings to Institutional Placement (March 1, 2013). Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 13-340, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2228431 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2228431

Holly Nguyen (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

Thomas Loughran

University of Maryland ( email )

2220 LeFrak Hall
College Park, MD 20742
United States

Ray Paternoster

University of Maryland - Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice ( email )

2129 LeFrak Hall
College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-4724 (Phone)
301-405-4733 (Fax)

Jeffrey Fagan

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-2624 (Phone)
212-854-7946 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.columbia.edu/fac/Jeffrey_Fagan

Alex R. Piquero

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences ( email )

800 W. Campbell Road, GR31
Richardson, TX 75080
United States
972-883-2482 (Phone)
972-883-6572 (Fax)

Griffith University

170 Kessels Road
Nathan, Queensland QLD 4111
Australia

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