Brandon Anderson / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A new study suggests that when people who have been involved in crimes such as theft are given the opportunity and training to do “legitimate work,” they are less likely to continue criminal activities.

While the study looked at former mercenaries in Liberia, its findings may be applicable to other countries because many of the economic conditions that push people toward crime exist across the globe.

From The Atlantic:

What would it take to encourage criminals to change their ways? There is, of course, no one answer to that question, but when it comes to crimes with economic motives—such as theft—a new study suggests that providing job training, money (or supplies) to get started in legitimate work, and employment opportunities could help curb repeat offenses.

The study, from Christopher Blattman of Columbia University and Jeannie Annan from the International Rescue Committee, assesses the effectiveness of a program designed to rehabilitate former mercenaries in Liberia. While much about Liberian mercenaries may be particular to that country, some of the economic conditions that push its people toward crime, including a lack of skills, job opportunities, and stable government structures, certainly exist around the world…Even though former criminals in more-developed economies may not be at risk of becoming soldiers for hire, Blattman and Annan’s study suggests that individuals who might engage in criminal and violent behavior again, such as gang members and thieves, may be more willing than was once thought to turn down those opportunities in exchange for a marginal economic benefit and stable, legal employment.

Read more.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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