Session: From Prevention to Reentry: Understanding Predictors of Crime and Desistance from Criminal Behavior (Society for Social Work and Research 14th Annual Conference: Social Work Research: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES)

163 From Prevention to Reentry: Understanding Predictors of Crime and Desistance from Criminal Behavior

Cluster: Crime and Criminal Justice
Symposium Organizer:

Stephen J. Tripodi, PhD, Florida State University

Matthew Epperson, PhD, Rutgers University
Sunday, January 17, 2010: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM
Pacific Concourse K (Hyatt Regency)
Considering that one percent of the American adult population is currently incarcerated in jails or prisons, and approximately 650,000 individuals are released from prison every year, social workers will inevitably encounter clients involved in the criminal justice system. The past three decades have witnessed an influx of individuals into, and subsequently released from, the criminal justice system. Accordingly, social work researchers and policy makers are invested in understanding the etiology of criminal behavior and interventions to reduce it. This symposium brings together researchers from throughout the country to share empirical findings with practical implications for prevention, intervention, and re-entry programs to reduce criminal behavior. This symposium will encompass four presentations and is designed to cover different stages of work in criminal justice in a chronological order; including prevention, incarceration, and prisoner re-entry.

The first presentation analyzes the relationship between low self-control as a child and criminal behavior as an adult, suggesting that the formation of social bonds may mediate this relationship. While many criminologists debate whether self control or social control is more influential in restraining people from committing crimes, this presentation is among the first to stress the importance of examining the relationship between self control and the formation of social bonds that later affect criminal behavior. The presenters suggest practical implications for preventing criminal involvement particularly relevant to school social workers.

The second presentation, which is a systematic review of studies incorporating meta-analytic techniques, addresses both risk factors for criminal behavior and best correctional-based practices implemented to reduce offenders' chances of recidivism. The presenter compares effect sizes for various risk factors for adult criminality, as well as interventions that aim to reduce recidivism. This is a timely presentation, considering the current economic recession, because Departments of Corrections throughout the country are forced to cut costs for corrections, and many are subsequently focusing on reducing recidivism rates.

The third presentation addresses prisoner reentry by assessing whether employment upon release from prison reduces recidivism. The researchers consider desistance from criminal activity as a behavioral change process rather than a dichotomous outcome. Subsequently, along with assessing whether employment decreases the chances of recidivism, the researchers also assess the influence of employment on time-to-reincarceration. Results will be presented under the framework that delaying re-incarceration indicates initial behavioral change the second step in the behavioral change process. Suggestions for facilitating this change process through re-entry programs focused on enhancing motivation are presented.

Finally, the fourth presentation assesses longitudinal data that covers the life-course from childhood through later adulthood. The researchers describe primary differences between persistent offenders and non-persistent offenders in childhood, adolescence, and at seven-year intervals throughout adulthood in order to advocate for preventive interventions in childhood and evidence-based prisoner reentry services.

The presentations use evidence to guide practice recommendations for their respective populations in the criminal justice system. The symposium will conclude by discussing the importance of developmentally appropriate practices based on the clients' stage of their life-course while considering earlier moments that may have engendered a trajectory towards crime.

* noted as presenting author
The Importance of Both Self Control and Social Control in Preventing Arrest in Young Adulthood: A Nationally Represented Longitudinal Study
Stephen J. Tripodi, PhD, Florida State University; Kimberly A. Bender, PhD, University of Denver; Sanna Thompson, PhD, University of Texas at Austin; Jemel Aguilar, PhD, University of Texas at Austin
Crime, Intervention, and Prisoner Reentry: A Systematic Review to Inform Social Work Research and Practice
Carrie Pettus-Davis, MSW, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Is Employment Associated with Reduced Recidivism? The Complex Relationship between Employment and Crime
Stephen J. Tripodi, PhD, Florida State University; Johnny S. Kim, PhD, University of Kansas; Kimberly A. Bender, PhD, University of Denver
Desistance and Persistence among a Sample of Offenders over the Life-Course
Michael G. Vaughn, PhD, Saint Louis University; Matt DeLisi, Iowa State University; Kevin Beaver, Florida State University
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