The Ecology of the Reentry Process: A Gendered Analysis of Community Influences

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Alper, Mariel
Simpson, Sally S
Nakamura, Kiminori
Utilizing original data on a large sample of male and female first-time parolees in Pennsylvania (N=10,579), this dissertation examines parole violations and police arrest recidivism outcomes to assess how community characteristics influence men and women's recidivism during parole. It adds to the literature by examining specific types of technical violations and arrests, including those that do not result in revocation, as they can serve as indicators of the difficulties parolees encounter after prison such as substance abuse and employment difficulties. Additionally, this dissertation adds to the literature by examining whether community effects vary by gender and by race/gender. The findings support the importance of several community characteristics that have been implicated in prior research and uncover previously unexamined gender and gender/race differences. Additionally, the effect of community characteristics varies by the type of recidivism that is examined, suggesting that the way recidivism is conceptualized and measured matters. Disadvantage in the community was associated with higher odds of arrests for men, but lower odds of technical violations. While the availability of service providers increased the odds of monetary violations for both men and women, they were associated with higher odds of employment violations for women and lower odds for men. Offender concentration in the community was associated with higher odds of several types of technical violations for men, including treatment violations, and lower odds of treatment violations for women. On the other hand, offender concentration was also associated with lower odds of drug violations and police arrests for men. For both men and women, lower informal social ties were associated with higher odds of most types of technical violations. Several race-specific effects for men and women were also found. Policy and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed. For example, community effects may be more nuanced than previous theories have suggested and theoretical explanations should incorporate gendered experiences and intersectionality. Additionally, investing in parolees' communities can aid offender reintegration and reduce recidivism and risk assessments should more systematically incorporate community characteristics. Further, findings from this project suggest the need to avoid practices that unintentionally increase recidivism and punitiveness for parolees.