A Natural Experiment of the Consequences of Concentrating Former Prisoners in the Same Neighborhoods
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Vol 112(22): 6943-6948, 2015
34 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 2, 2015
More than 600,000 prisoners are released from incarceration each year in the United States, and most end up residing in metropolitan areas, clustered within a select few neighborhoods. Likely consequences of this concentration of returning prisoners include higher rates of subsequent crime and recidivism. In fact, one-half of released prisoners return to prison within only 3 years of release. The routine exposure to criminogenic influences and criminal opportunities portends a bleak future for individuals who reside in neighborhoods with numerous other ex-prisoners. Through a natural experiment focused on post-Hurricane Katrina Louisiana, I examine a counterfactual scenario: if instead of concentrating ex-prisoners in geographic space, what would happen to recidivism rates if ex-prisoners were dispersed across space? Findings reveal that a decrease in the concentration of parolees in a neighborhood leads to a significant decrease in the re-incarceration rate of former prisoners.
Keywords: Prisoners, Recidivism, Neighborhood Effects, Natural Experiment, Hurricane Katrina
JEL Classification: C3, C9, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation