Date of Original Version

1-16-2012

Type

Article

Rights Management

The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10940-012-9191-9

Abstract or Description

Objectives

This paper uses a sample of convicted offenders from Pennsylvania to estimate the effect of incarceration on post-release criminality.

Methods

To do so, we capitalize on a feature of the criminal justice system in Pennsylvania—the county-level randomization of cases to judges. We begin by identifying five counties in which there is substantial variation across judges in the uses of incarceration, but no evidence indicating that the randomization process had failed. The estimated effect of incarceration on rearrest is based on comparison of the rearrest rates of the caseloads of judges with different proclivities for the use of incarceration.

Results

Using judge as an instrumental variable, we estimate a series of confidence intervals for the effect of incarceration on one year, two year, five year, and ten year rearrest rates.

Conclusions

On the whole, there is little evidence in our data that incarceration impacts rearrest.

DOI

10.1007/s10940-012-9191-9

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Published In

Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 29, 4, 601-642.