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Over 600,000 individuals were released from prison in the U.S. in 2013 (Carson, 2014), and, if recent trends continue, two-thirds of them will be arrested within 3 years (Durose, Cooper, and Snyder, 2014). Over the last two decades, policy makers at the federal, state, and local levels have been looking for ways to reduce recidivism rates among released prisoners and often emphasize post-release employment as a critical factor for successful reentry. However, research to date on the relationship between employment and recidivism is surprisingly limited, and findings are mixed. In addition, most of the research on the employment-recidivism relationship has failed to control for an individual's propensity to obtain employment. In other words, when studies have found a negative relationship between employment and recidivism, it is unclear whether differences in recidivism are due to the job itself or to other confounders that make some individuals more likely to be employed. This study uses data collected for the evaluation of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative to examine whether post-release employment decreases the likelihood of recidivism among adult men with extensive criminal histories. Propensity scores are used to control for a variety of possible confounders related to the individuals' likelihood of obtaining employment. Post-release employment has a modest negative effect on property crime and a positive effect on public order crime. Methodological considerations for studying employment among offender populations are also discussed.
Date of Defense
July 2, 2015.
A Dissertation submitted to the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Ted Chiricos, Professor Directing Dissertation; J. Piers Rawling, University Representative; Daniel P. Mears, Committee Member; William D. Bales, Committee Member.
Florida State University
Steffey, D. M. (2015). Employment and Recidivism Among Men Released from Prison. Retrieved from http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_migr_etd-9689