Impacts of Private Prison Contracting on Inmate Time Served and Recidivism
64 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2014 Last revised: 11 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 6, 2019
This paper examines the impact of private prison contracting by exploiting staggered prison capacity shocks in Mississippi. The analysis shows that private prison inmates serve 90 additional days, 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. The analysis is motivated by a 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