Money, Work, and Crime

Money, Work, and Crime

Experimental Evidence

1st Edition - January 28, 1980

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  • Authors: Peter H. Rossi, Richard A. Berk, Kenneth J. Lenihan
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483265803

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Money, Work, and Crime: Experimental Evidence presents the complete details of the Department of Labor’s $3.4 million Transitional Aid Research Project (TARP), a large-scale field experiment which attempted to reduce recidivism on the part of ex-felons. Beginning in January 1976, some prisoners released from state institutions in Texas and Georgia were offered financial aid for periods of up to six months post-release. Payments were made in the form of Unemployment Insurance benefits. The ex-prisoners who were eligible for payments were compared with control groups released at the same time from the same institutions. The control groups were not eligible for benefits. The assumption that modest levels of financial help would ease the transition from prison life to civilian life was partially supported. Ex-prisoners who received financial aid under TARP had lower rearrest rates than their counterparts who did not receive benefits and worked comparable periods of time. Those receiving financial aid were also able to obtain better-paying jobs than the controls. However, ex-prisoners receiving benefits took longer to find jobs than those who did not receive benefits. The TARP experiment makes a strong contribution both to an important policy area—the reduction of crime through reducing recidivism—and to the further development of the field and experiment as a policy research instrument.

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures

    List of Tables



    I The Transitional Aid Research Project Experiments: Background, Design, and Outcomes

    1 An Overview


    The Social Problem

    Adjustment Problems of Released Prisoners

    The Transitional Aid Research Project

    2 Historical Background of the Transitional Aid Research Project Experiments

    Origins of TARP

    The Baltimore LIFE Project

    From the LIFE Project to TARP

    3 Design of the Transitional Aid Research Project Experiments


    Early Design Considerations

    Implementing the Experiment

    Estimating the Efficiency of the TARP Experiments

    Work Disincentives

    Geographic Coverage

    Assignment to Experimental and Control Groups

    State Administrative Arrangements for TARP

    Recruitment of TARP Participants

    Analysis of TARP Data Files

    Other Related Research Conducted under TARP

    4 Implementation of Transitional Aid Research Project Experimental Design


    Randomization Success

    The Georgia Commutation Order

    The Experimental Treatments and Their Delivery

    TARP Costs

    Some Conclusions Concerning Implementation

    5 TARP Outcomes: Effectiveness Masked by Unanticipated Side-Effects


    Overall Experimental Outcomes

    Why Did TARP Appear to Fail? An Array of Possible Explanations

    A Conceptual Reinterpretation of the TARP Experiments

    Testing the TARP Counterbalancing Model

    Policy Implications of the LIFE and TARP Projects

    II Ex-Prisoners and Their Postprison Experiences

    6 The World of Ex-Prisoners

    An Overview of Part II

    A Technical Note

    7 Participants in the Transitional Aid Research Project


    Age and Sex

    Race and Ethnic Compositions

    Family Backgrounds of TARP Participants

    Educational Attainment and IQ

    Preimprisonment Work Experiences

    Family Arrangements of TARP Participants at Arrest and on Release

    Previous Criminal Records of TARP Participants

    Offenses of Conviction

    Continuing Ties: Parole and Discharge

    Gate Money at Release


    8 Postrelease Social and Psychological Adjustment Patterns


    Postrelease Marital Status and Living Arrangements

    Illness and Hospitalization

    Self-Assessments of Adjustment

    Adjustment in the Postrelease Year

    9 Employment and Earnings


    Finding a Job

    Earnings from Employment

    Employment and Earnings Conditional on Work

    Control Groups: Determinants of Employment

    Some Conclusions

    10 Arrests and Arrest Charges


    Arrest Rates

    Arrest Charges

    Some Observations on Rearrest

    III Modeling and Estimating the Effects of the Transitional Aid Research Project

    11 Model of the Effects of the Transitional Aid Research Project: Theoretical Foundations


    The Theoretical Foundations of the TARP Model

    The Specification of the Nonrecursive TARP Model

    Some Complications and Caveats

    Estimation Procedures

    12 Estimating Transitional Aid Research Project Models for Texas and Georgia


    TARP Results in Texas

    Georgia TARP Results

    Some Conclusions

    13 Transitional Aid Research Project Payments, Job Search, and Weekly Wages


    Texas Wage Analysis

    Georgia Wage Analysis


    IV Conclusions

    14 The Policy Implications of the Transitional Aid Research Project


    The Employment Strategy

    Effective Transitional Financial Aid Strategies

    A Call for Additional Research

    V Appendices

    A Data and Instruments

    B "Nobody Knows the Troubles I've Seen": Postrelease Burdens on the Families of Transitional Aid Research Project

    The Significant Woman Substudy

    Characterizing the Significant Women

    "Objective" Financial Drain on Household Resources

    From the Subjective Side

    What Does the Satisfaction Index Mean?

    Determinants of Satisfaction

    Determinants of Financial Impact


    C Women Ex-Offenders in the TARP Experiment


    Characteristics of TARP Women: Prerelease and Postrelease

    Replication of the Counterbalancing Model

    Reduced Form Results

    Structural Equation Results for TARP Money Received

    Structural Form Equation for the Number of Economic Arrests

    Structural Form Results for the Number of Weeks Employed

    Structural Equation Results for the Number of Weeks in Jail or Prison


Product details

  • No. of pages: 260
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1980
  • Published: January 28, 1980
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483265803

About the Authors

Peter H. Rossi

Richard A. Berk

Kenneth J. Lenihan

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