Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Eric Helland

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© 2018 Julia Seacat


A number of literature have analyzed the effect of harsh punitive laws on crime rates in the United States. This study aims to investigate the effect of specific U.S. federal drug policies on the rates of recidivism for nonviolent drug crimes during the years 1997 through 2009. I use data from a probation survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that is specifically comprised of America’s youth criminal population. I measure recidivism of nonviolent drug crime through re-arrest due to selling drugs using a few different metrics including a multivariate regression model using economic and social indicators as the explanatory variables and a discrete time hazard model. I find that U.S. federal drug policy increases the probability of recidivism during these years due to an upward trend of recidivism rates.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.