MINIMIZING RECIDIVISM BY OPTIMIZING PROFIT: A THEORETICAL CASE STUDY OF INCENTIVIZED REFORM IN A LOUISIANA PRISON
Jessica Conrad1, Genesis Islas2, Adrien Bossogo-Egoume3, Marco Hamins-Puertolas4, Maryam Khan5.
1Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, 2California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA, 3University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 4St. Mary's College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City, MD, 5Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.
Recidivism is the phenomenon whereby an individual returns to criminal activity after being released from prison. Many prisoners in the U.S. end up back in jail within 5 years. Using Louisiana as a case study, we show that prison management can minimize recidivism by subsidizing reform programs in for-profit prisons. Accounting for such an incentive program allows us to observe alterations in prison profit optimization. Within the model, the prison alters the proportion of time each inmate spends in the reform program. The incarceration dynamics respond to the average proportion of time that prisoners spend in reform. We determined that the prison's profit is most sensitive to the value of the incentive, the fixed cost per prisoner, the effectiveness of the instated reform program, the number of first-time offenders currently in the prison, and the per diem rate per prisoner the prison receives from the state. Prisons with higher initial incomes require a larger incentive to obtain the same results as their less profitable neighbors. The reduction in recidivism has diminishing returns as the incentive is increased.