This paper analyzes the effect of incarceration on mortality using administrative data from Ohio between 1992 and 2017. We first document that long-run survival is higher among the incarcerated than similar non-incarcerated defendants. Using event study designs centered around the time of release, we show why: mortality risk halves during the period of incarceration, with large reductions in murders, overdoses, and natural causes of death. However, incarceration does not increase post-release mortality, and so the overall effect is increased longevity. These estimates reflect the high-risk environment faced by defendants when not incarcerated, and suggest non-carceral policies to reduce these risks.

This content is only available as a PDF.

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview

Supplementary data

You do not currently have access to this content.