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JPAM Featured Article: Explaining the Consequences of Imprisonment for Union Formation and Dissolution in Denmark

June 14, 2016 04:08 PM

"Explaining the Consequences of Imprisonment for Union Formation and Dissolution in Denmark"

As part of our ongoing effort to promote JPAM authors to the APPAM membership and the public policy world at large, we are asking JPAM authors to answer a few questions to promote their research article on the APPAM website.

By: Peter Fallesen and Lars H. Andersen

What was the genesis/history of the idea for your research?

First, the paper grew out of our respective interests in the causes of union dissolution and prolonged singlehood and the effects of noncustodial criminal justice policies on convicted individuals’ life-course outcomes post-conviction. We had both previously worked in criminal justice research, but this research brought together the two different ways we approached the subject—one coming from family demography, and the other from criminology. Second, we both happen to have access to data from a country—Denmark—that over the last couple of decades has implemented a number of policy reforms that have changed the way the criminal justice system engages with convicted people. Our study allows us to see the impact of one of these reforms in a broader perspective, and may contribute to the ongoing US debate on decarceration as well.

What is the main conclusion that becomes evident from your research? (Or, what is our main takeaway?)

Allowing convicted men to serve their sentence with electronic monitoring and home confinement helps them retain already ongoing romantic relationships, as well as leads to better marriage market prospects for men who were single when they committed their crime.

What are some of the more interesting or surprising findings/conclusions, you discovered during this process?

There are two particularly interesting findings worth mentioning. First, that the effect of GPS monitoring instead of incarceration did not differ across sentence length once we controlled for unchanging individual characteristics. This somewhat surprising finding, however, could have something to do with the fact that none of the men in our sample served sentences longer than three months. Second, that GPS monitoring not only helped men in relationships to stay in those relationships, but also improved future relationship prospect for single men.


Author's Bio


Peter Fallesen (twitter: @pfallesen) is a senior researcher at the Rockwool Foundation in Copenhagen, Denmark and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University, Sweden. He holds a PhD in Sociology from University of Copenhagen. His research interests include family demography, child welfare, mental health, and criminal justice. His recent work deals with timing of divorce, how changes in welfare benefits affect family stability, and the efficacy of medical treatment of behavioral disorders on children’s long-term outcomes. Dr. Fallesen has completed research that focused on the causes and consequences of children’s out-of-home placements.
Lars H. Andersen (twitter: @lillelos) is a researcher at the Rockwool Foundation in Copenhagen, Denmark. He holds a PhD in Sociology from University of Copenhagen. His research interests include quantitative criminology, life-course perspectives and family dynamics, and, more broadly, policy analysis. His recent work deals with heterogeneity in the connection between marriage and crime, the consequences of parental incarceration, and effects of non-custodial alternatives to incarceration. Dr. Andersen has completed research that focused on the consequences of punishment in Denmark.

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