Relating Health to Recidivism: An Analysis of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) Adult Male Sample

Project: Research project

Project Details


Currently, over 700,000 prisoners are released to society every year, and almost 80 percent will be rearrested within five years of release. Yet, relatively little is known about the barriers and facilitators to successful reentry. Even less is known about how post-release health affects ex-prisoners likelihood of recidivating. This oversight is significant because incarceration has severe health consequences for ex-prisoners. This project addresses this gap by exploiting a uniquely designed longitudinal datasetSerious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI)which contains interviews with over 1,600 adult male offenders approximately 30 days before release from prison, follow-up interviews at 3, 9, and 15 months post-release, and administrative records obtained from state correctional agencies. SVORI is ideal for this study because the data have high quality longitudinal measures of health, recidivism, and other post-release outcomes. This project has two goals: to establish whether personal health is related to post-release outcomesspecifically recidivismfor ex-prisoners, and to assess if the relationship between health and post-release outcomes differs by race. This project is staged to make multiple impacts to theory, policy and practice. First, this project potentially makes significant advances in linking health to crime, as we are in a position to inform how to combat recidivism, especially for ex-prisoners suffering from poor health. Second, this project contributes to research on racial inequality and incarceration by examining differential effects of health on post-release outcomes across races. Given our focus on poor health as strain, this project also expands how criminologists theorize strain and criminal behavior to be inclusive of health issues. As for practical implications, policymakers and practitioners in corrections and health services will be served by findings from this study. Understanding how poor health impacts recidivism will help corrections agents plan post-release health services for ex-prisoners. Also, given that we are exploring other post-release outcomes like marriage and employment, we will be able to see how health impacts the successful attainment of positive post-release outcomes. We intend to examine the interrelationship between ex-offenders post-release health, recidivism, and other significant post-release outcomes using autoregressive cross-lagged models (ACL). The results will be summarized through a final report and a research briefing, so the results will be suitable for distribution to both researchers and practitioners. We will use other channelssuch as the national conferences and social mediato share the findings with policymakers and practitioners in corrections and health services to better facilitate successful reentry.
Effective start/end date1/1/156/30/16


  • DOJ-OJP: National Institute of Justice (NIJ): $39,999.00


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