The Effect of Incarceration on Mortality
72 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2020 Last revised: 31 Jan 2022
Date Written: January 28, 2022
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
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