Pay-If-You-Go Prisons?

Inspired by Bernie Madoff's 150-year prison sentence, New York state assemblyman Jim Tedesco introduced a bill that, as the Economist reports, would establish a "pay-if-you-go" model for prisons, whereby wealthy inmates pay for their own incarceration costs, thereby easing the burden on taxpayers.

Sentencing Discounts for Parents? A Guest Post

Should Parents Who Offend Receive Sentencing Discounts?
A Guest Post
By Jennifer Collins, Ethan J. Leib, and Dan Markel

Many states expressly tell judges to calibrate a sentence based, in part, on one's family ties and responsibilities in sentencing offenders.

The Great California Prison Experiment

The A.C.L.U. has done it again, but this time on a grand scale.

I published an academic paper back in 1996 that tried to measure the impact that changes in the prison population have on the crime rate. It turns out that this is a hard question.

We Need More Sheriffs Like This One

From the Lake County Sheriff’s Office From a Chicago Sun-Times article by Dan Rozek: Lake County Sheriff Mark C. Curran Jr. sentenced himself today to a week in his own jail, saying he believes spending time behind bars will make him a better cop and a better person. (Hat tip: Arloa Sutter)

Where Do People Still Use Cassette Tapes?

The answer: in prisons, where CDs are routinely banned because they can be shattered and the shards refined into shivs. MP3 players are unavailable in most prisons, as are, one imagines, turntables. California-based entrepreneur Bob Paris got the idea five years ago to sell cassettes by mail to the 2.3 million people locked up in […]

The Winner of Our Prisoner’s Dilemma Contest Is …

We ran a contest asking readers to submit the one question they’d ask to help pick a partner for the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Then we had a special treat: the University of Chicago economist John List (whose writings, by the way, were the inspiration for the contest) agreed to comb through the 350+ entries and choose […]

Vote Now on the Prisoner’s Dilemma Contest

We recently posted a contest, asking readers to choose the one question they’d ask if picking a partner to play the Prisoner’s Dilemma. I did not expect this contest to generate more than 350 replies. Picking the single best out of 350 seemed impossible, so I thought we should winnow it down to the Top […]

Prisoner’s Dilemma Contest: What’s the One Question You’d Ask If …

I’ve been reading through some economics literature on fairness, altruism, and the like — much of it centered on game-playing that is meant to represent how we make decisions in the real world. One common early game was an adaptation of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Here, courtesy of Wikipedia (excerpted from this book, I think), is […]

Looking to Live in a Community with Low Murder Rates? Try Committing a Crime

Crime rates have a large influence on the choices people make about where to live. The amazing declines in crime over the last fifteen years have been especially strong in big cities, a factor that helped fuel an urban renaissance. Ironically, however, some of the lowest murder rates are found in places where one might […]

Is Eric James Torpy crazy? Maybe he is just better than you at computing Present Discounted Values

A recent story on the AP wire: OKLAHOMA CITY — A man got a prison term longer than prosecutors and defense attorneys had agreed to because of Larry Bird. The lawyers reached a plea agreement Tuesday for a 30-year term for a man accused of shooting with an intent to kill and robbery. But Eric […]