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Social Statistics

Ana Morales


Analysing the long-lasting effect of imprisonment on recidivism.

PhD summary

Every year, a considerable number of ex-offenders are released from prison and a high percentage of them re-offend, i.e. they become recidivists. Reducing recidivism is often quoted by policy-makers and the general public as an effective way to improve public safety; however, despite its importance, recidivism is not yet fully understood.

Recidivism can be understood as a failure at different levels. Firstly, it can be thought of as an individual failure, which would imply that offenders ‘have not learned the lesson’ and have not taken advantage of the resources and programmes provided by prisons to encourage desistance from crime. Secondly, it can also be thought of as a failure of the criminal justice system and the prisons, since they were unable to provide the right support to make offenders abandon their criminal careers. Finally, it can also be seen as a failure of Society in general for not providing offenders the due support for a successful reintegration. Therefore, recidivism is the result of the contribution of -and the interactions between- diverse agencies (prisons) and structures (neighbourhoods, cities, etc.) on individual's characteristics. Depending on the purpose of the research, the focus can be placed on each of these different levels of analysis.

Using data from the administrative records of the Chilean National Prison Service (Gendarmería de Chile), this thesis implements a variety of statistical methods such as Event History Analysis, Multilevel Modelling and Spatial Analysis with the purpose of providing a more informed account on different aspects of the phenomenon and the responsibilities that lie with different actors at different levels. Ultimately, this thesis aims not only to advance the knowledge of recidivism in Chile, but also to contribute to the general debate further afield around new approaches towards understanding why people re-offend.


September 2013 - September 2017


Becas Chile Scholarship program


I joined the CMIst in 2013 as a PhD student in Social Statistics. Previously, in 2012-2013, I completed the MSc in Social Research Methods and Statistics at The University of Manchester. In 2010, I graduated from a Master's degree in Public Policy at the University of Palermo (Italy) and the University of Deusto (Spain). In 2007, I obtained my Bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of La Frontera in Chile.
Currently, I’m undertaking the last year of my PhD and, in parallel, I’m working part-time as a Research Associate at the UK Data Service since August 2016.


  • Dr Johan Koskinen
  • Dr Juan Medina-Ariza

Contact details

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