In this paper, we provide evidence on the deterrence effects of severity of punishment on crime rates based on the experience of Taiwan. Specifically, we investigate whether a tougher parole policy, which was implemented in Taiwan during 1997, is associated with a dec1ine in crime rates. Our results indicate that the overall crime rate in Taiwan dec1ined significantly after the implementation of the new parole policy. This is reflected in both misdemeanor and felony crimes. We also find that both the overall recidivism rate and the parolee recidivism rate dec1ined significantly after the implementation of the new policy. These results hold after controlling for other variables that are likely to be associated with crime rates such as unemployment rate, educational level, crime conviction rate, and police outlays. We also find that the number of new prisoners admitted to correctional institutions dec1ined significantly after the passage of the new parole policy. Overall, our results suggest that the tougher parole policy has a deterrent effect on criminal behavior, which is consistent with the deterrence hypothesis. Finally, we find that correctional institution costs increased after the 1997 parole policy change.
Journal of Social Sciences and Philosophy, 22(1), 109-138