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Health Law and Policy

Prison population

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Mirror Image Of Asylums And Prisons, Sacha Raoult, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2014

The Mirror Image Of Asylums And Prisons, Sacha Raoult, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

This article analyzes trends in prison rates and mental hospital rates in France since the earliest available statistics. It shows that, on almost two centuries of data and amidst an agitated political history, every asylum trend in France is "countered" by an inverse prison trend, and vice-versa. Both trends are like a mirror image of each other. We reflect on the possible explanations for this intriguing fact and show that the most obvious ones (a population transfer or a building transfer) are not able to account for most of the relationship. After these explanations have been dismissed, we are left ...


An Institutionalization Effect: The Impact Of Mental Hospitalization And Imprisonment On Homicide In The United States, 1934-2001, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2007

An Institutionalization Effect: The Impact Of Mental Hospitalization And Imprisonment On Homicide In The United States, 1934-2001, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Previous research overwhelmingly shows that incarceration led to lower rates of violent crime during the 1990s, but finds no evidence of an effect prior to 1991. This raises what Steven Levitt calls “a real puzzle.” This study offers the solution to that puzzle: the fatal error with prior research is that it used exclusively rates of imprisonment, rather than a measure that combines institutionalization in both prisons and mental hospitals. Using state-level panel data regressions over the period 1934-2001, and controlling for demographic, economic, and criminal justice variables, this study finds a large, robust, and statistically significant relationship between aggregated ...


From The Asylum To The Prison: Rethinking The Incarceration Revolution, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2006

From The Asylum To The Prison: Rethinking The Incarceration Revolution, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

The incarceration explosion of the late twentieth century set off a storm of longitudinal research on the relationship between rates of imprisonment and crime, unemployment, education, and other social indicators. Those studies, however, are fundamentally flawed because they fail to measure confinement properly. They rely on imprisonment data only, and ignore historical rates of mental hospitalization. With the exception of a discrete literature on the interdependence of the mental hospital and prison populations and some studies on the explanations for the prison expansion, none of the empirical work related to the incarceration explosion – or for that matter, older research on ...