Webinar | Prison Overcrowding and Recidivism: Evidence from Colombia

Webinar | Prison Overcrowding and Recidivism: Evidence from Colombia

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This webinar was the twelfth webinar in a series presenting innovative research on crime and violence in Latin America and the CaribbeanIf you would like to receive updates via email on future webinars in this series, sign up for the series mailing list here.

Overcrowded prisons are common in Latin America, with policymakers hesitant to improve conditions and risk being perceived as “soft on crime.” While poor prison conditions could, in theory, serve as a deterrent and reduce recidivism, they could also facilitate unsupervised interactions between inmates that might increase their criminal skills and networks.

In this webinar, Santiago Tobon (Universidad EAFIT) presented novel evidence on the relationship between prison conditions and recidivism from a prison construction program in Colombia that allowed many inmates to move into less crowded facilities with better services. 

Juanita Duran (Justice and Criminal Policy Laboratory) commented on the policy implications of this research. A 10-minute Q&A followed the presentation. 


  • Santiago Tobón, Professor of Economics at Universidad EAFIT in Medellín, Colombia — Speaker
  • Juanita Durán, Founding partner and researcher at the Justice and Criminal Policy Laboratory in Colombia — Policy Discussant
  • Ana Serrano Associate Director, Policy and Development, at IPA Colombia—Moderator

Watch the webinar recording in English:

Watch the webinar recording in English with Spanish interpretation: