The Effect of Incarceration on Mortality

72 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2020 Last revised: 31 Jan 2022

See all articles by Samuel Norris

Samuel Norris

University of Chicago

Matthew Pecenco

University of California, Berkeley - University of California, Berkeley

Jeffrey Weaver

University of Southern California

Date Written: January 28, 2022

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effect of incarceration on mortality using administrative data from Ohio between 1992 and 2017. Using event study and difference-in-differences approaches, we compare mortality risk across incarcerated and non-incarcerated individuals before and after pre-scheduled releases from prison. Mortality risk halves during the period of incarceration, with large declines in murders, overdoses, and natural causes of death. However, there is no detectable effect on post-release mortality risk, meaning that incarceration increases longevity. These estimates reflect the high-risk environment faced by criminal justice-involved individuals when not incarcerated and suggest other potential policies that could reduce these risks.

Keywords: Incarceration, health, mortality, crime

Suggested Citation

Norris, Samuel and Pecenco, Matthew and Weaver, Jeffrey, The Effect of Incarceration on Mortality (January 28, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3644719 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3644719

Samuel Norris

University of Chicago ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Matthew Pecenco

University of California, Berkeley - University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Jeffrey Weaver (Contact Author)

University of Southern California

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