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Impact of Federal Prison Industries Employment on the Recidivism Outcomes of Female Inmates

NCJ Number
247174
Journal
Justice Quarterly Volume: 31 Issue: 4 Dated: August 2014 Pages: 719-745
Author(s)
Kerry M. Richmond
Date Published
August 2014
Length
27 pages
Annotation
This longitudinal study examines whether employment in the Federal prison industries program, UNICOR, reduces recidivism among a large sample of female inmates.
Abstract
Female offenders face many barriers to employment, including a lack of education and work experience. Correctional work programs offer skills training and exposure to work routines and norms, yet there is scant research on whether these programs can increase a woman's employability, and thus reduce recidivism, upon release. This longitudinal study examines whether employment in the Federal prison industries program, UNICOR, reduces recidivism among a large sample of female inmates. Propensity scores are utilized to control for selection bias. This study finds no significant differences in rearrest or recommitment to federal prison between inmates employed in UNICOR and those who were not. Length of UNICOR employment is also not shown to have an effect on recidivism. The gender-specific needs of female offenders must be taken into account when developing correctional programming as factors other than employment may be more salient to a woman's ability to desist from crime. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.