Community Context, Prisoner Reentry, and Post-Prison Employment

Other External Scholars:
Jeffrey Morenoff, University of Michigan
Project Date:
Oct 2007
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Social, Political, and Economic Inequality

With the dramatic rise in the U.S. prison population over the past several decades, there has been a concomitant increase in the number of offenders released annually – well over half a million in 2005. Conditions facing recently released prisoners are daunting. Prisoners reenter communities with limited employment opportunities and severely depleted local resources. The chances for committing a crime again are extremely high - about 60 percent within three years of release. Why do some ex-offenders desist from crime and secure employment while others soon begin to engage in criminal activity again? How do communities affect returning parolees, and how do parolees affect communities? With an award from the Foundation, sociologists Jeffrey Morenoff and David James Harding will analyze the role that community context plays as both an impediment and a resource for successful prisoner reentry. Drawing on data from the Michigan Department of Corrections, the investigators will track 3,500 individuals for three years. Morenoff and Harding will then analyze employment status and location to determine whether trends exist within specific geographic locations.


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