Abstract: (Withdrawn) Does Housing Individuals with Sex Offense Convictions Reduce Recidivism? (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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588P (Withdrawn) Does Housing Individuals with Sex Offense Convictions Reduce Recidivism?

Sunday, January 15, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Sarah Brown-Foiles, MSW, Manager of Sex Offender Services, Saint Louis University, Jerseyville, IL
Background: Controversial residency restrictions and public registries lead to housing shortages for individuals with sex offense convictions (ISOC). Provided that stable housing is the corner stone of a non-offending lifestyle, the stakes are high when restricting this resource. The Intensive Community Reintegration Program (ICRP) is a transitional living program developed to serve indigent individuals with sex offense convictions returning to the community from incarceration. The ICRP focuses on basic needs and promoting protective factors against sexual offending. It is expected that the individuals who participate in the ICRP will remain in the community longer than those who do not. The current study explores the potential impacts of ICRP participation on the length of time remaining in the community for ISOCs using data from the ICRP program, primarily located in Northern Illinois.

Method: The study sample consists of participants (n = 64) who transitioned out of the ICRP in 2020 and 2021. A comparison group of 167 nonparticipants was created through IL Department of Corrections data sets resulting in a total sample of 231. Participants of the comparison group had to have been serving their sentence for a sex offense conviction that required an indeterminate 3-Life MSR. All individuals in this study were released to serve MSR terms during fiscal year 2021. All individuals whose detention was related to customs and immigration were dropped from the sample. The focal dependent variable is whether or not an individual violated MSR resulting in a return to custody or AWOL status (yes/no; i.e., return to the prison). The observation period was six months following transition from the ICRP for participants and release date from an IL correctional center for non-participants. The focal independent variable is ICRP participation status (yes/no). A logistic regression was utilized to examine the relationship between ICRP participation and return to custody, adjusted for a series of control variables (e.g., risk and Earned Program Sentence Credit).

Results: Of the 64 ICRP participants, five individuals returned to custody within the first six months of transitioning to independent housing (7.8%). Of the non-participants, 33 individuals returned to custody or were moved to AWOL status within the first six months of release to the community (19.8%). The logistic regression model suggests a negative association between the ICRP participation and return to prison (β = -0.14, p < 0.05) when controlling for risk and earned program sentence credit. In other words, participation in the ICRP has odds of returning to prison 86% of the odds for non-participants.

Conclusion and Implications: Even with a limited sample and shorter than optimal observation period, the study suggests that there is a statistically positive association between the ICRP participation and length of time remaining in the community. This further supports the theory that access to basic needs, such as housing, can contribute to improved recidivism outcomes, increased public safety and fewer victims. Additionally, these preliminary results suggest that investing in transitional housing may be a cost-effective reintegration strategy.