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Home | Events Archive | Early Release from Prison on Electronic Monitoring and Recidivism: A Tale of Two Discontinuities

Early Release from Prison on Electronic Monitoring and Recidivism: A Tale of Two Discontinuities

  • Series
    Brown Bag Seminars General Economics
  • Speaker
    Olivier Marie (Erasmus School of Economics)
  • Location
  • Date and time

    February 10, 2022
    12:00 - 13:00

Abstract: Almost a third of all prisoners in England and

Wales are released early and finish their sentence electronically monitored

(EM) under the Home Detention Curfew (HDC) scheme since its introduction in

1999. This makes it the largest EM release policy in the world and its stated

aim is to improve the re-integration of inmates into society in order to reduce

the very high recidivism rate observed in this population. It is very difficult

to causally infer if it is successful in altering criminal behaviour as

selection into the scheme is dependent on the outcome of interest: recidivism

risk. In this paper I exploit two administrative rules – age and sentence

length – which make certain prisoners ineligible and result in discontinuities

in treatment to estimate its impact of HDC on recidivism using a regression discontinuity

(RD) approach. I have access to detailed data on all prisoners released between

2000 and 2006 and on their past and future criminal history. The results

indicate that early EM release reduces the chances re-arrest of ex-prisoners by

between 20 and 40 percent within two years suggesting that it is a very cost

effective policy to reduce recidivism since time spent on HDC is much cheaper

than time spent in jail. The use of two distinct discontinuities for

identification also shows that this is not only the result of a local average

treatment effect (LATE) and that the policy positively alters the criminal

behaviour of heterogeneous populations.

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