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Title: Prisoner Reentry in Context: Labor Market Conditions, Neighborhoods, and the Employment and Recidivism Outcomes of Former Prisoners
Authors: Jacobs, Erin
Advisors: Pager, Devah
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: crime
labor market
Subjects: Sociology
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: As incarceration rates in the United States have risen to historically unprecedented levels, so too has the number of individuals being released from prison. These individuals come disproportionately from already marginalized groups, and they average poor labor market and criminal justice outcomes. In this dissertation, I contribute to our understanding of the experiences of men released from prison by exploring the individual and contextual factors that shape their outcomes. I analyze data on 2,174 prisoners released between 2004 and 2008 to Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and New York, to study three related questions about which there is little empirical research for this population. First, I ask how post-prison employment experiences relate to the odds of arrest. I find that employment, particularly if it pays well, is negatively correlated with arrest, controlling for fixed differences between individuals. However, I and others find that few former prisoners obtain such well-paying employment. Second, I examine the importance of local labor market conditions. I find that unemployment rates are negatively associated with individual employment, as expected, but that the relationship between economic conditions and recidivism is complex. I estimate that an increasing unemployment rate is associated with lower odds of arrest, but higher odds of parole revocation. These results suggest that recessionary conditions may not lead to more crime among these men but they may make the transition from prison more difficult by reducing the odds of working and of successfully staying out of prison. Finally, I explore the importance of neighborhood context. I find that those living in highly disadvantaged and declining neighborhoods have poorer employment outcomes, but, surprisingly, I do not find a significant relationship between neighborhood characteristics and arrest. I also find that contextual characteristics and outcomes vary considerably by city, with Detroit as an extreme case of contextual disadvantage. This suggests that researchers should look beyond neighborhood and also consider city-level contextual factors in order to understand the outcomes of this population. These analyses extend our understanding of the factors that shape life chances among this highly disadvantaged group of men.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

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