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A Multifaceted Examination of Reentry and Recidivism in Ohio
Kowalski, Brian Richard

2009, Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, Sociology.
One of the many repercussions of the vast expansion of the American prison system is the increasing amount of ex-prisoners that are released after serving their sentences. Over 700,000 ex-prisoners will be released and will return to their communities this year alone. As a consequence, prisoner reentry has become an important concern among lawmakers, corrections officials, and the general public. Amid this increased attention towards the post-release outcomes of ex-prisoners, a new wave of reentry and recidivism research has emerged as well. This dissertation provides a multifaceted examination of recidivism that addresses the limitations of prior research and offers a more complete and thorough understanding of the role communities play during the reentry process. The current project provides three separate analyses using a data set comprised of former prisoners in Ohio that is designed to improve the quality and integrity of post-release address data. This dissertation offers distinct data and methodological advantages that allow the overall project to evaluate a wide range of significant individual-level predictors, multiple measurement options and levels of analysis for contextual variables, and multiple measurement options for recidivism outcomes. The first analysis investigates the effects of community contextual variables on the likelihood of reincarceration for a sample of ex-prisoners released on parole and post-release control supervision in Ohio. I find that contextual factors are important predictors of reincarceration after controlling for individual-level characteristics. However, the results also indicate that the effects of community variables on recidivism are clearly different depending on the particular type of recidivism outcome, the level of geography for the community measures, the length of the follow-up time period, and the particular type of contextual variables. The next analysis explores and composes several contextual models to explain racial difference in serious behavior on post-release supervision. The findings support the argument that racial difference in recidivism can be attributed to disproportionate residence in disadvantaged locales. The final analysis focuses on the role employment plays during the reentry process, and investigates whether various measures of labor market opportunity influence serious behavior on post-release supervision. The findings suggest that that a measure of overall employment opportunity popular in prior research, and measures of low-skill employment opportunity in the industries likely to hire ex-prisoners influence recidivism. The overall findings from this dissertation suggest that communities are one of the important determinants of whether former prisoners will have a positive or negative post-release experience. In particular, the results lend preliminary support to the importance of finding a job during the reentry transition. This dissertation concludes by offering directions for future research in this emerging field of study.
Paul E. Bellair, PhD (Advisor)
Richard J. Lundman, PhD (Committee Member)
Ruth D. Peterson, PhD (Committee Member)
151 p.

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Kowalski, Brian. "A Multifaceted Examination of Reentry and Recidivism in Ohio." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2009. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 17 Jan 2017.

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Kowalski, Brian "A Multifaceted Examination of Reentry and Recidivism in Ohio." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2009.


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