The effectiveness of juvenile correctional facilities: Public versus private management

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2005-10-01

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This paper uses data on juvenile offenders released from correctional facilities in Florida to explore the effects of facility management type (private for-profit, private nonprofit, public state-operated, and public county-operated) on recidivism outcomes and costs. The data provide detailed information on individual characteristics, criminal and correctional histories, judge-assigned restrictiveness levels, and home zip codes -allowing us to control for the nonrandom assignment of individuals to facilities far better than any previous study. Relative to all other management types, for-profit management leads to a statistically significant increase in recidivism, but relative to nonprofit and state-operated facilities, for-profit facilities operate at a lower cost to the government per comparable individual released. Cost-benefit analysis implies that the short-run savings offered by for-profit over nonprofit management are negated in the long run due to increased recidivism rates, even if one measures the benefits of reducing criminal activity as only the avoided costs of additional confinement. © 2005 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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10.1086/497526

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Bayer, P, and DE Pozen (2005). The effectiveness of juvenile correctional facilities: Public versus private management. Journal of Law and Economics, 48(2). pp. 549–589. 10.1086/497526 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/2575.

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Bayer

Patrick Bayer

Gilhuly Family Distinguished Professor in Economics

Bayer's research focuses on wide range of subjects including racial inequality and segregation, social interactions, housing markets, education, and criminal justice. His most recent work has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Economic Review, Econometrica, and the Review of Financial Studies. He is currently working on projects that examine jury representation and its consequences, the intergenerational consequences of residential and school segregation, neighborhood tipping, gentrification, the effect of police and criminal justice interactions on families, and the impact of bail reform.


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