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Post-prison Employment Quality and Future Criminal Justice Contact

NCJ Number
Rsf-the Russell Sage Journal of the Social Sciences Volume: 6 Issue: 1 Dated: 2020 Pages: 154-172
Date Published
19 pages

Using 6 years of post-release employment records, this study documented how post-prison job quality varied by industry and then used inverse propensity score weighting to estimate the effect of job quality on future arrests and periods of imprisonment.


Several theories linking post-prison employment to recidivism suggest that the quality of employment has a causal effect on future criminal justice contact; however, previous work that tested these theories has not accounted for differential selection into high-quality employment. Some evidence indicated that parolees who found high-quality employment had fewer arrests or returns to prison than otherwise similar parolees who had low-quality employment, with the effects most evident when comparing employment in the highest- and lowest-quality industries. Low-quality employment did not appear to reduce future criminal justice contact compared to unemployment. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020