A number of things impact whether you come out of prison better off, or worse.
Some of these include, the length of time spent there and also what you went in for initially (e.g. drug addiction or gang related crimes). However I’m not sure you thought much about how somebody’s ability to earn would change if they went to prison. Did you?
Recent U.S. Study
In a recent study in the United States, as reported by NPR, “Donald T. Hutcherson II, a sociology professor at Ohio University in Lancaster, recently decided to tackle the question by mining the vast data in the U.S. government’s National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.”
Here’s what he found
“Spending time in prison leads to increased criminal earnings,” Hutcherson says. “On average, a person can make roughly US$11,000 more [illegally] from spending time in prison versus a person who does not spend time in prison.”
As to the process by which this happens, he says, “You come in [to prison]. You’re 16, 17, 18 years old. You’re looking around and you’re thinking, ‘Listen, I can learn from these seasoned veterans.’ And that’s exactly what you do. … Basically, you are spending a lot of time around other criminals, seasoned veterans who know the lay of the land, and they can teach you the mechanisms — ways to get away with crime.”
We should point out (as they did), that because the study is based on an average of a wide cross section of data, we would assume that not all criminals come out of prison “primed to become bigger criminals. Lots of people, obviously, come out determined to lead law-abiding lives.”
You can read the article on NPR here
What do you think?