Impacts of Private Prison Contracting on Inmate Time Served and Recidivism
Mukherjee, Anita. 2020. "Impacts of Private Prison Contracting on Inmate Time Served and Recidivism", American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.
39 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2014 Last revised: 12 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 30, 2020
This paper examines the impact of private prison contracting by exploiting staggered prison capacity shocks in Mississippi. Motivated by a model based on the typical private prison contract that pays a per diem for each occupied bed, the empirical analysis shows that private prison inmates serve 90 additional days. This is alternatively estimated as 4.8 percent of the average sentence. The delayed release erodes half of the cost savings offered by private contracting and is linked to the greater likelihood of conduct violations in private prisons. The additional days served do not lead to apparent changes in inmate recidivism.
Keywords: Privatization; Contracting; Private Prisons; Incarceration; Recidivism; Parole; Infractions; Incomplete Contracting
JEL Classification: L33; H11; H72; D02
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation