This article assesses the relationship between imprisonment length and recidivism. The data come from a unique longitudinal and nationwide study of Dutch prisoners, serving an average of 4.1 months of confinement (N = 1,467). A propensity score methodology is used to examine the dose–response relationship for three types of registered recidivism (i.e., reoffending, reconviction, and reincarceration) within a 6-month follow-up period. Findings indicate that length of imprisonment exerts an overall null effect on future rates of recidivism and that this conclusion holds across the various types of recidivism. These findings contribute to continuing scholarly debates over the social and economic costs of imprisonment.
Hilde Wermink, Paul Nieuwbeerta, Anke A. T. Ramakers, Jan W. de Keijser, Anja J. E. Dirkzwager
Crime & Delinquency, Vol 64, Issue 8, 2018