Recidivism and Relationships: Examining the Role of Relationships, Transitions, and Relationship Quality in Reincarceration

Danielle Wallace, Matthew Larson, Logan Somers, Kathleen E. Padilla, Ryan Mays

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Marriage encourages desistance, yet how post-release marital transitions (i.e., marital formation and dissolution) impact reentry outcomes is not commonly studied. Romantic partnership formation and dissolution is even less frequently studied. Moreover, the impact of the quality of marital and serious romantic relationships has not yet been linked to reentry outcomes. We explore whether marriage, being in a relationship, and post-release marital and relationship transitions impact reincarceration. Methods: Using data from the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative, we estimate a series of logistic regressions assessing whether post-release marital or relationship transitions, as well as relationship quality, influence the likelihood of reincarceration. Results: We find that relationship quality, not marriage or relationship transitions, is associated with a lower likelihood of reincarceration. Being in any relationship, including a marriage, however, is associated with and increased likelihood of reincarceration. Conclusion: Future research efforts should seek to shed additional light on how the reintegration process is affected by specific types of relationships and relationship transitions, as well as how relationship quality may mitigate negative reentry outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-352
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Marriage
  • Re-entry
  • Re-incarceration
  • Recidivism
  • Relationship transitions
  • Relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Law
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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