Recidivism in Context: A Meta-Analysis of Neighborhood Concentrated Disadvantage and Repeat Offending

Leah A. Jacobs, Laura Ellen Ashcraft, Craig J.R. Sewall, Danielle Wallace, Barbara L. Folb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study meta-analytically examined the effect of macro-level concentrated disadvantage on individual-level recidivism. Search results indicated research to date is designed to assess the incremental effect of concentrated disadvantage on recidivism above other risk factors. Using a multilevel random effects model, we found the estimated incremental effect of concentrated disadvantage was nonsignificant (log odds ratio = 0.03, p =.15, k = 48). However, effects varied by recidivism and offense type. Concentrated disadvantage does not add incremental utility when predicting general recidivism, but it does add incremental utility when assessing arrests (especially drug arrests) and violent reconvictions. Although individual-level risk factors and markers seem to explain most of the relationship between concentrated disadvantage and reoffending, concentrated disadvantage should not be summarily dismissed as irrelevant to recidivism. The overrepresentation of disadvantaged neighborhoods among the justice-involved—and the overrepresentation of the justice-involved in disadvantaged neighborhoods—requires further research on the disadvantage–recidivism relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-806
Number of pages24
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • community supervision
  • meta-analysis
  • parole
  • recidivism
  • theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Law


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