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Can Social Support Overcome the Individual and Structural Challenges of Being a Sex Offender? Assessing the Social Support-Recidivism Link

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 63 Issue: 1 Dated: 2019 Pages: 32-54
Date Published
23 pages
Using mixed methods, this study examined the nature and effects of instrumental and expressive social support from family, friends, intimate partners, and parole officers on recidivism for a sample of men convicted of sex offenses.

Social support is important for an individual's successful reentry; however, little is known about how it operates or is influenced by individual and structural factors. Understanding how social support matters for individuals convicted of a sex offense is especially important, since they may have a different reentry experience due to the nature of their crimes and post-conviction restrictions. Results of the current study indicate that support from family, friends, and intimate partner had no effects on recidivism; however, participants reporting a positive relationship with their parole officers were at greater risk of returning to prison. Qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews sheds light on how the nature of these relationships might explain the social support-recidivism link in a high-stakes population. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019