THE ROLE OF ROMANTIC PARTNERS IN THE PROCESS OF WOMEN'S REENTRY IN CHILE
Larroulet Philippi, Pilar
Simpson, Sally S
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Despite the growth of reentry literature in recent decades, little is known regarding the role romantic partners play in the process of transition back into the community. There is a well-developed literature regarding the “good marriage” effect on desistance, but studies have been conducted mostly with male samples, in the United States, and in times and social contexts where being married is considered normative. For females, however, the feminist literature points to the romantic partner as a potential source of criminogenic influence. Whether being in a romantic relationship will have any positive impact on females’ reentry is still an open question, as is whether that impact would be conditional on the characteristics of those relationships and specific partners. Even more, until now, we know relatively little about who those partners are and how often women change partners after release. The present dissertation seeks to address these gaps using data from the study “Reinserción, Desistimiento y Reincidencia en Mujeres Privadas de Libertad en Chile” [Reintegration, Desistance, and Recidivism Among Female Inmates in Chile]. The study follows a cohort of 207 women released from prison in Santiago, Chile over one calendar year. The results confirm the prevalence of not-married relationships among female reentering society, and show a great deal of heterogeneity in the characteristics of those relationships and partners. The analyses also reflect an important level of change in partnership in the twelve months following release. Further, the type of partners to whom women have access varies significantly by different groups of female offenders, as defined by their pathways into prison. Regarding recidivism, the results show that being involved in a romantic relationship is not associated with the chances of recidivism. However, when the specific characteristics of the relationships and partners are considered, partners’ behaviors are a consistent correlate of recidivism. As a whole, the results challenge the generalizability of life course criminological theory and highlight the need to incorporate a feminist perspective into research on reentry and desistance.