Publication Date: January 2004
Some two million Americans are currently incarcerated, with roughly six hundred thousand to be released this year. Despite this, little is known about the eﬀects of conﬁnement conditions on the post-release lives of inmates. Focusing on post-release criminal activity, we identify the causal eﬀect of prison conditions on recidivism rates by exploiting a discontinuity in the assignment of federal prisoners to security levels. We ﬁnd that harsher prison conditions are associated with signiﬁcantly more post-release crime.
Crime, Prison, Recidivism, Social Capital, Peer Eﬀects, Regression Discontinuity
JEL Classification Codes: K14, K42, J24, H4
Published in American Law and Economics Review (Spring 2007), 9(1): 1-29 [DOI]