Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Heather Antecol

Reader 2

Jeff Lewis

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© 2017 Claire E. Donnelly


Past work related to the private prison system has focused on direct comparisons between private and public facilities, including their respective quality, cost-effectiveness, and influence on recidivism. Using 2005 United States data compiled from a prison facility census, county census, and information on number of arrests by county, I examine the effect that the presence of private prisons has on the number of adult male arrests per county. Across four regression models, I initially find a significant effect of private prisons on arrests, but find that effect becomes insignificant once county and prison controls are accounted for. This suggests that the presence of a private prison in a particular county does not necessarily lead to a significant increase or decrease of arrests in that area.