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Report-2015-Does-the-first-prison-sentence-reduce-the-risk-of-further-offending-cjb187.pdfReport-2015-Does-the-first-prison-sentence-reduce-the-risk-of-further-offending-cjb187 
 AuthorJudy Trevena and Don Weatherburn 
 PublishedOctober 2015 
 Report typeCrime and Justice Bulletin No. 187 
 SubjectDiversion, Prisons and prisoners, Recidivism / Re-offending, Sentencing, Statistical methods and modelling 
 Keywordsprison, re-offending, special deterrence, propensity score matching, suspended sentence 
  
 

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Summary

Aim

Aim
This bulletin examines the question of whether short prison sentences (up to 12 months) exert a special deterrent effect.

Method

Method
Propensity score matching was used to compare time to reconviction among 3,960 matched pairs of offenders, in which one of each pair received a prison sentence of 12 months or less and the other received a suspended sentence of two years or less. Kaplan Meier survival analysis was then used to examine time to the first proven offence committed after the index court appearance. Adjustments were made for any time spent in custody during the follow-up period.

Results

Results
No significant differences were found between the matched prison and suspended sentence groups in the time to first new offence.

Conclusion

Conclusion
These results suggest that short custodial sentences exert no more deterrent effect than comparable community orders.

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