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Abstract: We estimate the causal effect of parole on recidivism by exploiting the random assignment of parole board members to hearings in Quebec prisons. Board members vary in their propensity to grant parole and to place parolees to supervised halfway houses. We find that parole decreases the likelihood of recidivism by 8 percentage points within 5 years. Parolees at the margin of remaining incarcerated spend on average 4 fewer months incarcerated during the course of the next 5 years. This effect is largely driven by the direct release of parolees, but also by reduced incarceration time in future sentences. We further investigate the role of halfway houses in the reintegration process by estimating their effect on different groups of compliers. Our analysis shows that a stay in a halfway house is especially effective for convicts at the margin of remaining incarcerated.
Keywords: Parole, Recidivism, Halfway Houses, Reentry
JEL Classification: K42