Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 303–326

Incapacitation: Revisiting an Old Question with a New Method and New Data

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10940-007-9032-4

Cite this article as:
Sweeten, G. & Apel, R. J Quant Criminol (2007) 23: 303. doi:10.1007/s10940-007-9032-4


We use the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 to obtain estimates of the number of crimes avoided through incapacitation of individual offenders. Incarcerated individuals are matched to comparable non-incarcerated counterparts using propensity score matching. Propensity scores for incarceration are calculated using a wide variety of time-stable and time-varying confounding variables. We separately analyze juvenile (age 16 or 17) and adult (age 18 or 19) incapacitation effects. Our best estimate is that between 6.2 and 14.1 offenses are prevented per year of juvenile incarceration, and 4.9 to 8.4 offenses are prevented per year of adult incarceration.


Incapacitation Incarceration Propensity score matching Juvenile justice Prison 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Criminology and Criminal JusticeArizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.School of Criminal JusticeUniversity at Albany-SUNYAlbanyUSA