The Effect of Mass Incarceration on Criminality in Colombia


This study surveyed the literature on the expected and unexpected effects of incarceration before (deterrence), during (incapacitation), and after (after-effects) prison confinement occurs, through a selective search that favored the analysis of studies with an empirical focus in the national and comparative literature. Then, based on data provided by the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (INPEC by its acronym in Spanish) and the National Police, the research evaluated the effect that mass incarceration for homicides, kidnappings, theft, and personal injuries had on Colombian criminality between 1994 and 2018 (a time in which the inmate population increased fourfold). The regression results suggested that incarceration decreased the number of homicides and kidnappings but increased theft and personal injuries. At the end, the article presents the theoretical developments that could explain those statistical results and makes recommendations for the strategic use of imprisonment and its deterrent potential in Colombia.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2021-06-01
Pages:15 to 33
Fetching Scopus statistics
Fetching Web of Science statistics
How to Cite
Flórez, J. F. (2021). The Effect of Mass Incarceration on Criminality in Colombia. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 10(2), 15-33.

Author Biography

José Fernando Flórez Ruiz has a PhD in Political Science from the Paris II Panthéon-Assas University. Master in Public Policy and Specialist in Constitutional Law from the same French university. Lawyer from the Externado of Colombia University. Visiting scholar at Columbia University (NYC) and Johns Hopkins University (Washington D.C.).  

He is currently Planning Director at the National Civil Registry of Colombia. He is an experienced advisor and public official in the Senate of Colombia, the Mayor's Office of Bogotá, the Office of the Attorney General. Author to four books and almost twenty academic papers and book chapters. He is also columnist at Semana Magazine.

Twitter: @florezjose