Neighborhoods, Race, and Recidivism: The Community Reoffending Nexus and its Implications for African Americans
Sage Race Relations Abstracts, Vol. 32, pp. 7-37, 2007
31 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2012
Date Written: 2007
In this study we explore the impact of neighborhoods on criminals and of criminals on neighborhoods with respect to a current pressing problem — prisoner reentry. First, we review the key issues surrounding prisoner reentry in a “get tough on crime” era and describe the multiple challenges ex-offenders face upon release. We pay particular attention to the group affected most by these challenges — young Black males. Second, we examine trends in reoffending and link rising recidivism rates to current criminal justice policies and practices. Third, we determine how recidivism may be linked to the neighborhoods where prisoners return. Using data on a sample of ex-offenders in Multnomah County, Oregon in conjunction with Census data, we show how one critical community characteristic — neighborhood socioeconomic status — accounts for variation in the reoffending behavior of exprisoners that is not explained by their individual-level characteristics. Fourth, we consider whether the linkage between residence and recidivism may be conditioned by race. And finally, we discuss the policy implications by stressing the need to focus on communities as one part of a larger plan for reducing recidivism.
Keywords: neighborhoods, prisoner reentry, race, recidivism
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