Intermediate sanctions: A comparative analysis of the probability and severity of recidivism

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Abstract

Social scientists have a longstanding concern with the relationship between criminal sanctions and offenders' future behavior. This paper uses data from a sample of 528 adult felony offenders to compare the relative probability of rearrest, the severity of rearrest, and the likelihood of probation revocation for offenders with a sentence of incarceration, work release, house arrest, and traditional probation - or a combination of these sentences. Consistent with previous research, prior record, gender, offense type, and education were significantly related to the probability and severity of rearrest. Furthermore, no matter which other sanction it was paired with, house arrest was associated with reduced chances of rearrest and lower rearrest severity. The influence of one of these sanction combinations was gender-specific: incarceration followed by house arrest was associated with reduced odds of rearrest for women but not for men. However, house arrest was associated with the considerably increased likelihood of probation revocation. In addition, these effects remain after controlling for potential selection bias stemming from the sentencing decision. This paper concludes by discussing the theoretical and correctional implications of these findings and directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-193
Number of pages30
JournalSociological Inquiry
Volume71
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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