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Effect of Imprisonment on Recidivism Rates of Felony Offenders: A Focus on Drug Offenders

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 40 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2002 Pages: 329-358
Cassia Spohn; David Holleran
Robert J. Bursik Jr.
Date Published
May 2002
30 pages
This article discusses the deterrent effect of incarceration on convicted felons.
The authors review the impact of incarceration in preventing recidivism among felony offenders. Particular focus was placed on the impact of these relationships on convicted drug offenders. Prior research on deterrence and recidivism is discussed to provide a context for the study. Data were collected from Jackson County, Missouri (Kansas City). The sample population consisted of 1,077 felony offenders convicted during 1993. A comparison was made between felons who received jail time and felons referred to probation. The authors found that incarcerated offenders were substantially more likely to recidivate upon release and among offenders who recidivated, previously incarcerated offenders recidivated more quickly than offenders committed to probation or other community control. These relationships were even more pronounced among felony drug offenders as opposed to other felons. No deterrence relationship was found. 3 tables, 2 figures, 12 notes, 62 references


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