The Statistical Relationship Between the Rate of Incarceration and the Rate of Crime in Each of the Fifty States: Has the Continuing Prison Expansion Changed Things?

Joseph Dillon Davey, Rowan University of New Jersey

ABSTRACT
The Politics of Prison Expansion: Winning Elections by Waging War on Crime. (Praeger, 1998) presented the results of a multiple regression equation that sought to find a statistical relationship between the rate of incarceration in each of the fifty states and the rate of crime in that state. The absence of a robust relationship between crime rates and incarceration rates was thought to be counter-intuitive by some reviewers. However, the study was based on data that ended in 1992 and during the subsequent decade the U.S. added more than a half million inmates to state prison population. This paper will ask whether the continuing expansion of incarceration has changed the relationship between crime rates and incarceration rates or if other variables continue to have greater salience for predicting incarceration levels in each of the fifty states

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006