Criminal Justice Involvement and High School Completion

Randi Hjalmarsson, University of Maryland

This paper analyzes the relationships between juvenile justice system interactions and high school graduation. When controlling for a large set of observables as well as state- and household-level unobservables, arrested and incarcerated individuals are about 10 and 25 percentage points, respectively, less likely to graduate high school than non-arrested individuals. The effect of arrest, however, disappears when there is minimal selection on unobservables; in contrast, the incarceration effect is less sensitive to such selection and can be more readily interpreted as causal. An exploration of the mechanisms underlying the incarceration effect points most consistently toward an education-impeding stigma.

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Presented in Session 47: Incarcerations and Labor Market Outcomes