How raising the minimum wage keeps ex-cons from going back to prison

As states across the country work to boost their minimum wages, the policies could have an unintended side effect: Helping turn people away from a life of crime.

A new working paper from researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey and Clemson University in South Carolina examined how higher minimum wages and the availability of state-based Earned Income Tax Credits influence recently released prisoners. Their findings point to how instrumental economic policies can be in reducing the rates of recidivism — that is, the likelihood of reoffending.

The average minimum wage increase of 50 cents reduced the probability that men and women would return to prison within a year by 2.8%, the paper found.

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