Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Do You Get What You Pay for? Assessing the Use of Prison from an Economic Perspective

By Kevin Marsh, Chris Fox and Carol Hedderman

Abstract

This article assesses the relative economic costs and benefits of alternative sentences. A conceptual economic model is developed in which the benefits are the rehabilitation, incapacitation, deterrence and retribution effects of prison. A review of the literature was undertaken to identify economic studies that measure these effects. The evidence available tends to focus on costs and the rehabilitation and incapacitation effects. The evidence on the deterrence effect takes two forms – theoretical models and empirical analysis. Little economic evidence on the retribution effect of prison was identified. In conclusion, whatever the other reasons put forward for or against the use of prison, it is reasonable to conclude that using it for anyone but those convicted of serious offences is a waste of public resources

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1468-2311.2008.00556.x
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/7685
Journal:

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (1989). A cost benefit analysis of the sentencing decision for burglars',
  2. (2005). An Introduction to Criminological Theory, doi
  3. (1999). Analysis of Costs and Benefits: Guidance for Evaluators, London: Home Office,
  4. (2008). Available at: http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs/crimdet.pdf (accessed 8
  5. (2008). Building on Sand: Why Expanding the Prison Estate is Not the Way to 'Secure the Future' (Briefing 7), London: Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. doi
  6. (2004). Closing off opportunities for crime: an evaluation of alleygating', doi
  7. (2005). Collaborating with economists',
  8. (1993). Conscience, opportunity, rational choice and crime',
  9. (2007). Contingent Valuation: A Comprehensive Bibliography and History, doi
  10. (2004). Cost-benefit analysis in criminal law', doi
  11. (1968). Crime and punishment: an economic approach', doi
  12. (1999). Criminal Deterrence and Sentence Severity: An Analysis of Recent Research,
  13. Criminal Justice 2000: Measurement and Analysis of Crime and Justice, doi
  14. (1998). Deterrence and incapacitation', doi
  15. (2005). Diversion from prosecution at court and effective sentencing', in: doi
  16. (1995). Does prison pay? doi
  17. (2004). Empirical research relevant to sentencing frameworks', in:
  18. (1993). Enduring individual differences and rational choice theories of crime', doi
  19. (2006). Evidence-Based Public Policy Options to Reduce Future Prison Construction, Criminal Justice Costs, and Crime Rates, doi
  20. (2007). Guidelines Development Manual, London: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Available at: http://www.nice.org.uk/niceMedia/pdf/ GuidelinesManualAllChapters.pdf (accessed 8
  21. (1996). Help wanted: economists, crime, and public policy', doi
  22. (2004). Introduction: the policy context and assessing the evidence', in: G. Harper and C. Chitty (Eds.), The Impact of Corrections on Re-offending: A Review of 'What Works' (Home Office Research Study 291), London: Home Office. doi
  23. (2003). Managing Offenders, Changing Lives: A New Approach, London: Home Office.
  24. (2000). Measuring the costs and benefits of crime and justice', doi
  25. (2000). Monetary costs and benefits of crime prevention programs', doi
  26. (2007). Past, present and future sentences: what do we know about their effectiveness?', doi
  27. (2006). Public preferences for rehabilitation versus incarceration of juvenile offenders: evidence from a contingent valuation survey', doi
  28. (2001). Putting severity of punishment back in the deterrence model', doi
  29. (2005). The application of economic analysis to criminal justice interventions: a review of the literature', doi
  30. (2008). The benefit and cost of prison in the UK: the results of a model of lifetime re-offending', doi
  31. (2001). The Comparator Costs and Benefits of Programs to Reduce Crime,
  32. (2003). The costs and benefits of sentencing: a systematic review', doi
  33. (1999). The economics of criminal behaviour', in:
  34. (1987). The economics of early educational interventions: a review', doi
  35. (2000). The High/Scope Perry Preschool Project Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Justice bulletin,
  36. (2008). What does economic analysis add to decision making? Evidence from the criminal justice literature', doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.