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A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of the Impact of Public Assistance on Prisoner Recidivism

Jeremy Luallen, Jared Edgerton, Deirdre Rabideau


June 12, 2017
The Welfare Act of 1996 banned welfare and food stamp eligibility for felony drug offenders and gave states the ability to modify their use of the law. Today, many states are revisiting their use of this ban, searching for ways to decrease the size of their prison populations; however, there are no empirical assessments of how this ban has affected prison populations and recidivism among drug offenders. Moreover, there are no causal investigations whatsoever to demonstrate whether welfare or food stamp benefits impact recidivism at all.  

This paper provides the first empirical examination of the causal relationship between recidivism and welfare and food stamp benefits.
Focus Areas
North America