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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Long-term incarceration and public safety: Predicting the recidivism risk of long-term prisoners
by Crayton, A. Lee, Ph.D., City University of New York, 2012, 201; 3499225
Abstract (Summary)

Since the 1970s, the number of people incarcerated in the United States has grown exponentially. The United States has now reached a historical moment as it incarcerates more of its citizens that it ever has before. Moreover, the rate at which it does surpasses all other nations. Increased length of sentences and time served have contributed substantially to America's prison growth, calling into focus the need for research that examines the impact long prison sentences have on an individual's likelihood of recidivism. To date, little is known about the relationship between long prison sentences and public safety outcomes. Unfortunately, in recent years, long-term incarceration has received minimal attention from the academic world.

Despite the gap in research, questions surrounding long-term incarceration are as critical now as ever. Today, people are spending more time in America's prisons than ever before. Individuals, who at one time would have been released, are collecting in our nation's prison system, creating a larger and longer-term prison population. Today's economic reality forces criminal justice administrators all over the country to consider ways to cut budgets without compromising public safety. This study outlines the importance of considering the impact length of stay has on recidivism when making sentencing and release decisions. Using data from New York, this study examines the impact that each additional month served has on the likelihood that a person will be re-arrested or re-incarcerated within two years of release. Put another way, this study seeks to identify the point at which individuals pose no heighten risk to public safety. Results indicate that this point occurs years before people serving long prison terms are released. The relationship between long prison sentences and recidivism are explored further as factors associated with positive release decisions and criminal justice system involvement are controlled for in the models, helping to identify factors that are significant in predicting recidivism outcomes. Implications for sentencing practice and parole release decisions are discussed. Additionally, future research opportunities are identified.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mellow, Jeff
Commitee: Adamczyk, Amy, Travis, Jeremy
School: City University of New York
Department: Criminal Justice
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 73/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Criminology
Keywords: Incarceration, Long-term, Public safety, Recidivism
Publication Number: 3499225
ISBN: 978-1-267-23529-9
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