Production And Persistence Of Criminal Skills: Evidence From A High-Crime Context

Publicado en

  • Journal of Development Economics


  • We study criminal skills production and persistence by looking at the universe of incarceration spells and violent and non-violent property crime reports in Colombia. Leveraging detailed and geo-coded information, we find that property crime reports are higher around prisons on the days inmates are released. Two types of offenders drive the impacts: (i) property crime specialists—inmates with a prior conviction for violent or non-violent theft; and (ii) trainees—inmates with different criminal records but who interacted heavily with specialists during incarceration. We examine whether participation in rehabilitation programs or longer prison spells mitigate these effects and find no evidence for either type of offender. Although we are unaware of how many crimes these offenders would commit absent incarceration, these results suggest that incarceration’s specific deterrence or rehabilitation effects might be weak for these populations and that, in some circumstances, prison can foster rather than prevent crime.

fecha de publicación

  • 2023

Líneas de investigación

  • Colombia
  • Crime
  • Prisons
  • Recidivism
  • Violence

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