Date of Award

5-2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Susan M. Carlson

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Crawford

Third Advisor

Dr. Gregory Howard

Fourth Advisor

Dr. William Crawley

Abstract

This study explores how neighborhood context influences the odds of reoffending by those released from incarceration at a local jail facility. Using data from four sources, I seek to contribute to the understanding of reentry by including two factors missing from current theoretical and empirical work on inmate recidivism. First, using a social disorganization perspective, I include measures of neighborhood health to gain an understanding of how increased substance abuse, mental health, and physical health issues among neighborhood residents impede the development of social capital and informal control that are crucial to the reduction of recidivism. Additionally, I examine jail reentry instead of prison reentry, as the reentry literature has either ignored jail reentry entirely, or has used samples that combine individuals released from prisons and jails. Jails constitute a very different incarcerative experience that may enhance problems with successful reentry differently than for prisons.

I used logistic regression to analyze data on 6,102 men and women released from the Kent County Correctional Facility (KCCF) between 2010 and 2011. Network180 and the Michigan Department of Community Health provided neighborhood health data. Other neighborhood context data came from the U.S. Census. Recidivism was measured in two different ways—rebooking in, and reincarceration in, the KCCF within two years of the original release date. Additionally, separate logistic regression models were estimated for African Americans and those of other races to determine how race interacts with neighborhood context to influence the odds of recidivism.

Results show that, as hypothesized, neighborhood levels of health issues significantly increase the odds of recidivism for those released from incarceration. Furthermore, neighborhood levels of health issues significantly increase the odds of rebooking and reincarceration among African Americans, but not for those of other races. The results of this study support the notion that neighborhood context, particularly the health of community residents, and race matter when it comes to successful jail reentry outcomes, and thus warrant inclusion in the reentry theoretical and empirical literature. Additionally, results of this study illustrate the importance of recognizing jails as a viable and important research site in the study of reentry.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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