Re-Entry Success, Social Support and Social Networks Among Ex-Prisoners

Patrick M. Clark, National Institute of Justice

Past research suggests that most adult offenders will be rearrested subsequent to their release from prison. Some suggest that a social systems perspective be used to accommodate the content and structure of traditional and often conflicting theories of criminal behavior and better explain the interaction of individuals and society, criminal behavior and recidivism. Social systems involving social support and social networks is evident in a number of studies concerning offenders, and especially those re-entering society after imprisonment. Although seldom measured or controlled, researchers have recognized the relationship of these social systems variables and the problems of criminal behavior and recidivism. Social support and social network surveys were administered to 60 inmates recently transferred from prison to a minimum security community corrections center in preparation for parole. Multiple regression analyses explore the relationship of aspects of social support, social networks and return to prison. Survey results appear to support current theory regarding the relationship of social systems and recidivism.

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Updated 05/20/2006