The effect of imprisonment on recidivism rates of felony offenders: A focus on drug offenders

Cassia Spohn, David Holleran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

148 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the deterrent effect of imprisonment. Using data on offenders convicted of felonies in 1993 in Jackson County (Kansas City), Missouri, we compare recidivism rates for offenders sentenced to prison with those for offenders placed on probation. We find no evidence that imprisonment reduces the likelihood of recidivism. Instead, we find compelling evidence that offenders who are sentenced to prison have higher rates of recidivism and recidivate more quickly than do offenders placed on probation. We also find persuasive evidence that imprisonment has a more pronounced criminogenic effect on drug offenders than on other types of offenders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-358
Number of pages30
JournalCriminology
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Drug offenders
  • Imprisonment
  • Recidivism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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