This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Grant #R01-DA12578), which we most gratefully acknowledge. We also thank Dale Berger, whose statistical advice at various phases of this analysis was invaluable.
Deterrence and Incapacitation: An Interrupted Time-Series Analysis of California's Three-Strikes Law1
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 33, Issue 1, pages 110–144, January 2003
How to Cite
Ramirez, J. R. and Crano, W. D. (2003), Deterrence and Incapacitation: An Interrupted Time-Series Analysis of California's Three-Strikes Law. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 33: 110–144. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2003.tb02076.x
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Using uniform crime statistics, this research investigates the impact of California's three-strikes law on instrumental, violent, minor, and drug-related crimes over the first 5 years of the law's implementation. Autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) models reveal little immediate impact of the law, but significant effects on instrumental crime over time, suggesting an incapacitation effect. After correcting for autocorrelation distortions, less restrictive multiple regression models that test simultaneously for immediate and gradual intervention effects disclose immediate (deterrent) effects on instrumental and minor crimes and arrests, and long-term (incapacitation) effects on these and violent crimes as well. Drug-related crimes appear impervious to the three-strikes law under any analytic model, suggesting the unresponsiveness of such crimes to increasingly severe legal sanctions.