Impacts of Private Prison Contracting on Inmate Time Served and Recidivism
45 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2014 Last revised: 21 Aug 2017
Date Written: August 20, 2017
I contribute new evidence on the impacts of private prison contracting by exploiting staggered prison capacity shocks in Mississippi between 1996 and 2004. I find that private prison inmates serve up to 90 additional days, which equals 7 percent of the average time served. The mechanism for this delayed release appears linked to the widespread use of conduct violations in private prisons. Despite the additional days served, I find no evidence that private prison inmates recidivate less. I nest both results in a theoretical model based on the typical private prison contract that pays a diem for each occupied bed.
Keywords: Privatization; Contracting; Private prisons; Incarceration; Recidivism; Parole; Infractions; Incomplete Contracting
JEL Classification: L33, H11, H72, D02
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation