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NCJ Number: 220671 Find in a Library
Title: Silence of the Lambdas: Deterring Incapacitation Research
Journal: Journal of Quantitative Criminology  Volume:23  Issue:4  Dated:December 2007  Pages:287-301
Author(s): Thomas J. Miles; Jens Ludwig
Date Published: December 2007
Page Count: 15
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper provides an economist’s perspective on criminological research into incapacitation effects on crime and the deterrence of incapacitation research.
Abstract: The economic evidence for deterrence, as distinguished from incapacitation, is small and beset by difficulties. It is argued that criminologists would benefit from substantially scaling back the enterprise of trying to estimate the various behavioral parameters central to a micro-level approach to measuring incapacitation effects, including the annual rate of offending outside of prison and the lengths of criminal careers. However, a key question is a matter of which approach holds the greater promise for identifying policy-relevant information about incarceration and about incarceration’s effects. The most promising way to identify the net impacts of incarceration from the combination of incapacitation, deterrence, and replacement effects is from the careful study of natural experiments. Credible natural experiments require “shoe leather” research to identify cases where State or Federal policy changes, court decisions, or treatment assignment rules generate differences in punishment experiences across populations that are plausibly unrelated to other determinants of criminal activity. References
Main Term(s): Convicted offender incapacitation
Index Term(s): Corrections effectiveness; Criminology; Deterrence; Deterrence effectiveness; Incarceration; Research and development; Research uses in policymaking; Selective incapacitation
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