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Parolee Recidivism in California: The Effect of Neighborhood Context and Social Service Agency Characteristics

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 48 Issue: 4 Dated: November 2010 Pages: 947-979
John R. Hipp; Joan Petersilia; Susan Turner
Date Published
November 2010
33 pages
This study examined whether the proximity of social service providers affected recidivism rates of parolees.
The authors studied a sample of reentering parolees in California in 2005-2006 to examine whether the social structural context of the census tract, as well as nearby tracts, along with the relative physical closeness of social service providers affects serious recidivism resulting in imprisonment. They found that a 1 standard deviation increase in the presence of nearby social service providers (within 2 miles) decreases the likelihood of recidivating 41 percent and that this protective effect was particularly strong for African-American parolees. This protective effect was diminished by overtaxed services (as proxied by potential demand). The study found that higher concentrated disadvantage and social disorder (as measured by bar and liquor store capacity) in the tract increases recidivism and that higher levels of disadvantage and disorder in nearby tracts increase recidivism. A 1 standard deviation increase in the concentrated disadvantage of the focal neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods increases the likelihood of recidivating by 26 percent. The findings suggest that the social context to which parolees return (both in their own neighborhood and in nearby neighborhoods), as well as the geographic accessibility of social service agencies, play important roles in their successful reintegration. Tables, figures, and references (Published Abstract)


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