Monday, May 9, 2011
David Kirk (University of Texas at Austin) has posted Residential Change as a Turning Point in the Life Course of Crime: Desistance or Temporary Cessation? on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Many former prisoners return home to the same residential environment, with the same criminal opportunities and criminal peers, where they resided before incarceration. If the path to desistance from crime largely requires knifing-off from past situations and establishing a new set of routine activities, then returning to one’s old environment and routines may drastically limit an ex-prisoner’s already dismal chances of desisting from crime. This study tests these ideas by examining how forced residential migration caused by Hurricane Katrina affected the likelihood of reincarceration among a sample of ex-prisoners originally from New Orleans. Property damage from the hurricane induced some ex-prisoners to move to new neighborhoods who otherwise would have moved back to their former neighborhoods. Findings from an instrumental variables survival analysis reveal that those parolees who moved to a new parish following release were substantially less likely to be reincarcerated during the first 3 years after release than ex-offenders who moved back to the parish where they were originally convicted. Moreover, at no point in the 3-year time period was the hazard of reincarceration greater for those parolees who moved than for those who returned to the same parish.