There is a correlation, as this article from the London Telegraph reports that the crime rates in the United Kingdom—where the prison sentences are much less than here—are also higher than here.
However, without effective reentry programs that actually rehabilitate released criminals, the gain is nullified by the increased criminal effectiveness criminals gain from their carceral world experience.
“England and Wales has one of the worst crime rates among developed nations for rapes, burglaries and robberies, a major report has found.
“However, offenders are locked up for shorter periods than in comparable countries – raising questions about claims made by Ken Clarke, the Justice Secretary, that too many criminals were being jailed.
“The study found that England and Wales ranked highly in a survey of crime rates among more than 30 developed counries, based on the frequency of crimes recorded by police for every 100,000 people.
“For burglaries and robberies England and Wales had more crimes per 100,000 people than the USA.
“England and Wales was ranked sixth for burglaries – worse than Sweden, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Italy and Chile - and for robberies, England and Wales was seventh.
“For rapes, England and Wales was ranked ninth, worse than the likes of Norway, Poland, Sweden, Australia and Germany, while for car thefts, England and Wales was eighth – worse than Slovenia, Chile, Mexico, Greece and the Czech Republic.
“The figures, from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, draw together crimes recorded by police in the countries studied and is published every six years.
“They date from 2006 because of difficulties in obtaining accurate comparable figures.
“Civitas said, where possible, it had cross-checked with more recent pan-European figures, and the rates were broadly the same.
“Among two other measures, England and Wales fared better, being ranked 16th out of 35 countries for “intentional homicides” and 19th for major assaults.
“David Green, Civitas’s director, said: “England and Wales are high-crime societies compared with other developed nations. We have a lot of crime compared with other similar countries.
“Random checks of later figures for individual nations show that the ranking has not changed significantly. "
“Mr Green said further analysis had shown that England and Wales had a low “punitivity ratio” compared with other countries because shorter sentences were being handed down by judges.”