The Irrational 18-Year-Old Criminal

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Samuel Braima
Economics 449
The Irrational 18-Year-old Criminal
By Joel Waldfogel
Executive Summary
In this article Joel Waldfogel provided insight on evidence that prison does not deter crime. He looked at two major aspects in the prison and crime relation which are policing and imprisonment. He explains that prospect of getting caught and also of spending time in prison are meant to discourage rational potential offenders from criminal activities and that prison was also meant to prevents various crime by incapacitating harmful people. But Joel sighted studies from Columbia and Michigan University that provided different school of though. According to this study, because the deterrent effect of both policing and punishment is difficult to measure the empiricists assume an effect if crime is lower in circumstances with stiffer punishment or more policing. The problem with this process according to Joel is that tougher policies don’t just come about and that they only come about as a frustrated retort to high crime rates. Joel surmises from the study that one of the classic conundrums of empirical social science is that crime affects policing and punishment as much as the other way around. The research focuses on how when kids turn turn 18 yrs they face stiffer punishment because they are now adults. A study was done in Florida that found out that the probability of being sentenced to prison for an offence rose dramatically form 3 to 17 percent when kid are exactly 18 years old( adults). According to Lee and McCrary (conducted the study) this answers the economist main question of How does the tendency to commit crimes vary around the 18th birthday, when the odds of a prison-sentence punishment Jumps? The answer is hardly at all. The researches concludes that the probability of been arrested each week drop around age 17 to 19 but there is no sizeable decrease in arrests in relation to...
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