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Gender Differences in the Effects of Prison on Recidivism

NCJ Number
239692
Journal
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 40 Issue: 5 Dated: September/October 2012 Pages: 370-378
Author(s)
Daniel P. Mears; Joshua C. Cochran; William D. Bales
Date Published
October 2012
Length
9 pages
Annotation
This study investigated whether gender differences played a role in the effectiveness of prisons at reducing recidivism.
Abstract
The study found that 1) prison appeared to slightly increase the likelihood of all types of recidivism for males and two types of recidivism for females (drug and property); 2) among male inmates, the effect of prison was more pronounced for property and drug recidivism, while for female inmates, the effect of prison was more pronounced for property recidivism; 3) the effect of prison on recidivism was greater when compared to probation; and 4) among male inmates, imprisonment had a greater criminogenic effect on drug recidivism, while for female inmates, imprisonment had a modest criminogenic effect on property recidivism. This study investigated whether gender differences played a role in the effectiveness of prisons at reducing recidivism. Data for the study were obtained from a sample of 10,000 males and the full population of 7,550 females released from Florida prisons between 1994 and 2002 and who were reconvicted of a felony offense within 3 years of release. Propensity score matching analyses were performed to determine the effect of prison on recidivism versus three counterfactual conditions - jail, intensive probation, and probation. The findings from the study indicate that incarceration of offenders, regardless of gender, increases the likelihood of recidivism for dug and property offenses, and that this effect occurs when imprisonment is compared to probation as an alternative punishment. Implications for future research and policy are discussed. Tables and references