Advertisement

Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 355–375 | Cite as

Estimating the Number of Crimes Averted by Incapacitation: An Information Theoretic Approach

  • Avinash Singh Bhati
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper presents an information theoretic approach for estimating the number of crimes averted by incapacitation. It first develops models of the criminal history accumulation process of a sample of prison releasees using their official recorded arrest histories prior to incarceration. The models yield individual offending trajectories that are then used to compute the number of crimes these releasees could reasonably have been expected to commit had they not been incarcerated—the counterfactual of interest. The models also afford the opportunity to conduct a limited set of policy simulations. The data reveal a fair amount of variation among individuals both in terms of the number of crimes averted by their incarceration and the responsiveness of these estimates to longer incarceration terms. Estimates were found not to vary substantially across demographic groups defined by offender race, gender, or ethnicity; variations across states and offense types were more pronounced. Implications of the findings and promising avenues for future research are discussed.

Keywords

Incapacitation Information theory Individual offending trajectories 

References

  1. Allison PD (1984) Event history analysis. Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, CAGoogle Scholar
  2. Allison PD (1995) Survival analysis using SAS: a practical guide. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NCGoogle Scholar
  3. Avi-Itzhak B, Shinnar R (1973) Quantitative models of crime control. J Crim Just 1:185–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhati AS (2006) Studying the effects of incarceration on offending trajectories: an information-theoretic approach. The Urban Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  5. Bhati AS (2007) An information-theoretic method for estimating the number of crimes averted by incapacitation. The Urban Institute., Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  6. Bhati AS, Piquero A (2007) On the effects of incarceration on subsequent individual criminal offending: deterrent, criminogenic, or null effects? Under reviewGoogle Scholar
  7. Blossfeld F, Hamerele A, Mayer KU (1989) Event history analysis: statistical theory and applications in the social sciences. Lawrence Erlbaum Association Publishers, Hillsdale, NJGoogle Scholar
  8. Blumstein A, Cohen J (1973) A theory of the stability of punishment. J Crim Law Criminol 64(2):198–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blumstein A, Cohen J (1979) Estimating the individual crime rates from arrest records. J Crim Law Criminol 70(4):561–585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blumstein A, Cohen J, Roth JA, Visher CA (1986) Methodological issues in criminal career research. In: Blumstein A, Cohen J, Roth JA, Visher CA (eds) Criminal careers and “career criminals”, Vol I. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  11. Blumstein A, Piquero A (2007) Does incapacitation reduce crime? J Quant Criminol, this issueGoogle Scholar
  12. Brame R, Bushway S, Paternoster R (2003) Examining the prevalence of criminal desistance. Criminology 41:423–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bureau of Justice Statistics (2002) Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1994, Codebook for Dataset 3355. Downloaded from NACJD in August 2003Google Scholar
  14. Bushway S, Brame R, Paternoster R (2004) Connecting desistance and recidivism: measuring changes in criminality over the lifespan. In: Shadd Murana, Russ Immarigeon (eds) After crime and punishment: pathways to offender reintegration. Willian Publishing, Portland, ORGoogle Scholar
  15. Chaiken JM, Chaiken MR (1982) Variations in criminal behavior. Rand, Santa Monica, CAGoogle Scholar
  16. Cohen J (1978) The incapacitation effects of imprisonment: a critical review of the literure. In: Blumstein A, Cohen J, Nagin D (eds) Deterrence and incapacitation: estimating the effects of criminal sanctions on crime rates. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  17. Cohen J (1983) Incapacitation as a strategy for crime control: possibilities and pitfalls. In: Tonry M, Morris N (eds), Crime and justice: an annual review of research. vol 5, Chicago University Press, Chicago, ILGoogle Scholar
  18. Cohen J (1986) Research on criminal careers: individual frequency rates and offense seriousness. In: Blumstein A, Cohen J, Roth JA, Visher CA (eds) Criminal careers and “Career Criminals”. vol I, National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  19. DiIulio JJ (1990) Crime and punishment in wisconsin, wisconsin policy research institute report, vol 3, no. 7, Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, Milawukee, WIGoogle Scholar
  20. Ezell ME, Land KG, Cohen LE (2003) Modeling multiple failure time data: a survey of variance-corrected proportional hazard models with empirical applications to arrest data. Sociol Methodol 33:111–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Farrington D (1986) Age and crime. In: Morris N, Tonry M (ed) Crime and justice 1:289–348. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, ILGoogle Scholar
  22. Fomby TB, Hill RC (1997) ed. Advances in econometrics: applying maximum entropy to econometric problems, Vol. 12Google Scholar
  23. Golan A (2002) Information and entropy econometrics—editor’s view. J Econom 107(1–2):1–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Golan A, Judge GG, Miller D (1996) Maximum entropy econometrics: Robust estimation with limited data. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  25. Greenburg DF (1975) The incapacitation effect of imprisonment: some estimates. Law Soc Rev 9(4):541–580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hart TC, Rennison C (2003) Reporting Crime to the Police, 1992–2000. Special Report, Bureau of Justice Statistics (NCJ 195710), Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  27. Harding RW, Maller RA (1997) An improved methodology for analyzing age-arrest profiles: application to a eastern Australian offender population. J Quant Criminol 13(4):349–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Horney J, Marshall I (1991) Measuring lambda through self-reports. Criminology 29:401–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Huber PJ (1967) The behavior of maximum likelihood estimators under non-standard conditions. Proceeding of the Fifth Symposium on Mathematical Statistics and Probability 1:221–233Google Scholar
  30. Jaynes ET (1957a) Information theory and statistical mechanics. Phy Rev 106:620–630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jaynes ET (1957b) Information theory and statistical mechanics II. Phys Rev 108:171–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Journal of Econometrics (2002) ed. Special Issues on Information, Entropy Econometrics Amos Golan. 107(1–2):1–357Google Scholar
  33. Kullback J (1959) Information theory and statistics. John Wiley, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  34. Langan PA, Levin DJ (2002) Recidivism of prisoners released in 1994. Special Report, Bureau of Justice Statistics, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  35. Lillard LA (1993) Simultaneous equations for hazards: marriage duration and firtility timing. J Econom 56:189–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Maasoumi E (1993) A compendium of information theory in economics and econometrics. Econom Rev 12(2):137–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Maltz MD (1984) Recidivism. Academic Press, Orlando, FLGoogle Scholar
  38. Manski C (1988) Analog estimation methods in econometrics. Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  39. Marvell TB, Moody CE (1994) Prison population growth and crime reduction. J Quant Criminol 10(2):109–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mayer KU, Tuma NB (eds) (1990) Event history analysis in life course research. The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, EIGoogle Scholar
  41. Miles T, Ludwig J (2007) Silence of the lambdas: deterring incapacitation research. J Quant Criminol, this issueGoogle Scholar
  42. Mittelhammer RC, Judge GG, Miller DJ (2000) Econometric foundations. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  43. Nagin DS (2005) Group based models of development. Harvard University Press, Boston, MAGoogle Scholar
  44. Nagin DS, Land K (1993) Age, criminal careers, and population heterogeneity: specification and estimation of a non-parametric, mixed poisson model. Criminology 31:327–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Nagin DS, Paternoster R (2000) Population heterogeneity and state dependence: state of the evidence and directions for future research. J Quantit Criminol 16:117–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Petersilia J, Greenwood PW, Lavin M (1978) Criminal careers of habitual Felons. Rand, Santa Monica, CAGoogle Scholar
  47. Pastore AL, Maguire K (eds) (2005) Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics 2003. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. USGPO, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  48. Reiss AJ (1988) Co-offending and criminal careers. pages 117–170. In: Tonry M, Morris N (eds) Crime and justice: an annual review of research. Vol. 10, Chicago University Press, Chicago, ILGoogle Scholar
  49. Ryu HK (1993) Maximum entropy estimation of density and regression functions. J Econom 56:397–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sampson RJ, Laub JH (2005) A life-course view of the development of crime. Ann Am Acad Pol Soc Sci 602:6–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Shannon CE (1948) A mathematical theory of communication. Bell Syst Tech J 27:379–423Google Scholar
  52. Shinnar S, Shinnar R (1975) The effects of the criminal justice system of the control of crime: a quantitative approach. Law Soc Rev 9:581–611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Soofi ES (1994) Capturing the intangible concept of information. J Am Statis Assoc 89(428):1243–1254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Spelman W (1994) Criminal incapacitation. Plenum, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  55. Spelman W (2000) What recent studies Do (and Don’t) tell us about imprisonment and crime. Crime Just 27:419–494Google Scholar
  56. Visher CA (1987) Incapacitation and crime control: does a “Lock ‘Em Up” strategy reduce crime? Just Q 4(4):513–543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. White H (1980) A heteroskedasticity-consistent covariance matrix estimator and a direct test for heteroskedasticity. Econometrica 48:817–830CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Yamaguchi K (1991) Event history analysis. Sage Publishing, Inc, Newbury Park, CAGoogle Scholar
  59. Zellner A (1991) Bayesian methods and entropy in economics and econometrics. In: Grady WT, Schick LH (eds) Maximum entropy and Bayesian methods. Kulwer, Netherlands pp 17–31Google Scholar
  60. Zellner A, Highfield RA (1988) Calculation of maximum entropy distributions and approximation of marginal posterior distributions. J Econom 37:195–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Zimring F, Hawkins G (1995) Incapacitation: penal confinement and the restraint of crime. Oxford University Press, New York, NYGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Justice Policy CenterUrban InstituteWashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations