Prisoner Social Ties, Money Transfers, and Sender-recipient Distance: Evidence from Russia

50 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021 Last revised: 26 Mar 2021

See all articles by Ksenia Runova

Ksenia Runova

The Institute for the Rule of Law, the European University at Saint Petersburg

Dmitriy Skougarevskiy

European University at St. Petersburg

Leonid Zhizhin

The Institute for the Rule of Law, European University at St. Petersburg

Date Written: March 17, 2021

Abstract

This paper examines the previously unexplored form of social support that inmates enjoy: money transfers. We study the distance decay of financial support of prisoners. Drawing on proprietary data from a Russian prison tech company, we explore the universe of money transfers to any penal facility in Russia in 2017–19. To estimate the distance effect we build a gravity model of remittance flows from 1,117 cities to 931 penal facilities. The features of Russian penal geography reflect on the volume, frequency, and direction of transfers received by inmates. The gravity model of remittances suggests a pronounced distance decay. Correctional facilities closest to the sender city (0...144 km away, 1st percentile of pairwise distance) receive almost 10 times more funds than the facilities located 9,789...13,625 km away from the senders (the 99th percentile). The distance decay is mitigated in cities where people are more exposed to the penal system. Uncovered distance decay of financial support is associated with stigmatization of prisoners’ families.

Keywords: correctional policy, prisoners’ families, social ties, incarceration, Russian penal geography, remittances, distance decay

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Runova, Ksenia and Skougarevskiy, Dmitriy and Zhizhin, Leonid, Prisoner Social Ties, Money Transfers, and Sender-recipient Distance: Evidence from Russia (March 17, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3806597 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3806597

Ksenia Runova (Contact Author)

The Institute for the Rule of Law, the European University at Saint Petersburg ( email )

6/1 А Gagarinskaya Street
St. Petersburg, 191187
Russia

Dmitriy Skougarevskiy

European University at St. Petersburg ( email )

6/1A Gagarinskaya Street
St. Petersburg, 191187
Russia

HOME PAGE: http://eusp.org

Leonid Zhizhin

The Institute for the Rule of Law, European University at St. Petersburg ( email )

6/1 A Gagarinskaya Street
St. Petersburg, 191187
Russia

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