Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

As justice systems decarcerate, hundreds of thousands of previously incarcerated people are released into communities each year. The burdens of mass reentry are not evenly distributed regionally or locally. Furthermore, some communities are better equipped and/or willing to accept and reintegrate recently incarcerated people.

This dissertation explores how individual social support and community collective resources like social capital, social trust, and residential rootedness are linked to reentry success on a macro-, meso-, and micro-level and across time following release. I find that county-level bridging and bonding social capital network structures are differentially linked to aggregated reentry success rates, with bridging capital rates inversely related to recidivism and bonding capital rates positively associated with recidivism. These trends strengthen significantly across time from one-year to seven-years post-release.

In addition to these macro-level county aggregations, I also examine neighborhoods and individual reentry success in Baton Rouge, LA. Here, I ask if neighborhood collective resources are more advantageous than an individual’s social support network in their reentry success following incarceration. I compare an array of collective resource measures to the individual’s social supporter count, the concentration of that support in neighborhoods, and the relation of each supporter to the reentering person. My results suggest that the individual social support networks are more consequential and more sustaining for reentry success than community collective resources. Residential rootedness and social trust are linked to lower odds of recidivism in the short term, but the results show no significance for any other collective resource measures. For a subset of this population, geriatric parolees, neighborhood residential rootedness increases likelihood of recidivating within five years of release. This suggests that neighborhood bonds and social structures associated with residents’ neighborhood tenure and expectation to remain act differently for geriatric parolees than for other reentering adults.

While these collective resource findings are valuable, my dissertation also contributes to the literature on research methodology in recidivism. I explicate a standardized definition structure for agency practitioners and researchers to create a more easily communicable and comparable measurement schema. Overall, this dissertation contributes to a range of social theory, public policy, and research methodology.

Date

5-24-2022

Committee Chair

Barton, Michael S.

Available for download on Saturday, May 19, 2029

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