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Age is one of the most robust correlates of prison misconduct, with younger inmates more likely to commit disciplinary infractions. There has been, however, little attention to the potential nonlinear effect of age on prison misconduct. Most research to date has assumed that the relationship is linear and modeled it as such. In so doing, prior work has been unable to identify the potential nonlinear relationship between age and prison misconduct. This dissertation thus attempts to examine the precise nature of the age-misconduct relationship. Furthermore, it addresses the call for more research that investigates how prison experiences may influence prisoner reentry outcomes. Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation is to contribute to efforts to advance scholarship and better understand the relationship between age, prison behavior, and recidivism. First, it takes a nuanced look at the potential nonlinear relationship between age and prison misconduct. The approach taken here expands on prior research by examining granular age categories to predict several types of disciplinary infractions. Next, it investigates possible interaction effects of gender and, separately, race/ethnicity on the age-misconduct relationship. Finally, it explores the relationship between age, prison misconduct, and recidivism. Specifically, it examines the relationship between age and types of recidivism and whether various types of misconduct mediate this relationship. This dissertation draws on a Florida Department of Corrections admission cohort from 1995 to 2000 and a release cohort from 1995-2002. Negative binomial regression models were used to examine the relationship between age and prison misconduct and binary logistic regression models were used to examine the relationship between age, prison misconduct, and recidivism. The findings of this study shed light on the significance of identifying and understanding the nonlinear relationship between age and prison misconduct, and, further, the mediating effect of misconduct on the age-recidivism relationship. Theory, research, and policy implications of the findings are discussed and suggestions are made regarding future research.
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.
Daniel Mears, Professor Directing Dissertation; Melissa Radey, University Representative; William Bales, Committee Member; Sonja Siennick, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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