Impacts of Private Prison Contracting on Inmate Time Served and Recidivism

Paper by Anita Mukherjee:

I contribute new evidence on the impacts of private prison contracting by exploiting staggered prison capacity shocks in Mississippi between 1996 and 2004. I find that private prison inmates serve up to 90 additional days, which equals 7 percent of the average time served. The mechanism for this delayed release appears linked to the widespread use of conduct violations in private prisons. Despite the additional days served, I find no evidence that private prison inmates recidivate less. I nest both results in a theoretical model based on the typical private prison contract that pays a diem for each occupied bed.