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Sentencing Options and Recidivism Rates Among Drug Offenders in Jackson County, Missouri

Principal Investigator: Cassia Spohn, Ph.D. , Professor
Publications Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Spohn C., Holleran D.
Article Title: The effect of imprisonment on recidivism rates of felony offenders: A focus on drug offenders
Journal: Criminology
Volume/Issue/Pages: 40, 2: 329-358
Year: 2002
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the deterrent effect of imprisonment. Using data on offenders convicted of felonies in 1993 in Jackson County (Kansas City), Missouri, we compare recidivism rates for offenders sentenced to prison with those for offenders placed on probation. We find no evidence that imprisonment reduces the likelihood of recidivism. Instead, we find compelling evidence that offenders who are sentenced to prison have higher rates of recidivism and recidivate more quickly than do offenders placed on probation. We also find persuasive evidence that imprisonment has a more pronounced criminogenic effect on drug offenders than on other types of offenders.

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