Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Government and International Affairs

Major Professor

Steven S. Tauber

Keywords

collateral consequence, crime, get tough, inmate populations, reentry, streams and windows

Abstract

The paper analyzes the rise of get-tough crime legislation to the American public policy agenda and examines the effects of these policies on crime and inmate populations. Get-tough policies analyzed include sentencing reform, the War on Drugs and collateral consequences. Because there is no empirical literature on the effect of collateral consequences on crime, the paper employed an OLS regression model partly derived from institutional anomie theory to test for criminogenic effects. The study then employed OLS regression analysis to determine the affect of these independent variables on crime rates in each of the 50 states. The study concluded that state policies hindering the ability of offenders to find employment have a significant and positive impact on crime. According to the model, the most significant factors affecting crime rates are urban density, high school drop-out rates, a state's population of blacks, non-economic institutions, and policy barriers to offender employment. The research suggests that policy makers should reduce ecomomic barriers to reentry, particularly those barriers focused on employment, to improve public safety.

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