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date: 17 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents empirical evidence regarding the (in)effectiveness of prisons for reducing crime. The authors begin with a brief discussion of the mechanisms through which incarceration affects crime, followed by a review of research that presents empirical evidence on the relationship between prisons and crime. This section separates empirical research on the total effect of prison on crime from empirical studies intended to isolate the deterrent or incapacitation effects of prison. Death penalty studies are also reviewed for insight into whether capital punishment has any short- or long-term effects on homicide rates. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the policy implications that follow from the empirical research on prison effects on crime.

Keywords: effects of incarceration on crime, prisons and crime, deterrence, incapacitation, death penalty, capital punishment, homicide rates

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