Abstract

We evaluate electronic monitoring as an alternative to prison for non-violent offenses. Leveraging plausibly exogenous variation in sentencing outcomes generated by quasirandom assignment of judges, we find electronic monitoring reduces reoffending at both extensive and intensive margins. Compared with prison, electronic monitoring is estimated to reduce the probability of reoffending by 22 percentage points 5 years after sentencing and by 11 percentage points 10 years after sentencing, with the cumulative number of offenses reduced by 45 percent 10 years after sentencing. These results demonstrate that electronic monitoring can have sustained crime-reducing effects.

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