The impact of the spatial mismatch between parolee and employment locations on recidivism

Alyssa Chamberlain, Lyndsay N. Boggess, Ráchael A. Powers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Scopus citations


    Prior research has shown that employed parolees are less likely to recidivate. Yet, these studies often ignore the underlying employment context of the neighborhoods to which parolees return. Given that parolees often reside in disadvantaged neighborhoods, it is likely that few potential employment opportunities exist nearby, and those opportunities that do exist are of relatively poor quality. This study examines the influence of geographic access to employment opportunities on the likelihood of recidivism. We use a unique data set of parolees and jobs in Ohio to determine whether parolees living closer to a greater number of potential employers or higher-paying jobs are less likely to recidivate. Further, we examine if these relationships are conditioned by parolee race. More job opportunities and higher paying jobs closer to the parolees’ homes increase recidivism, and the likelihood of recidivating is highest within smaller geographic distances. Because many parolees reside in the inner city, jobs located within close proximity of parolees are likely white-collar, reflecting the increased competition for low-skill jobs close to where the parolee lives. Our findings indicate that this may be particularly true for black parolees. This suggests policy changes that reduce competition for low-skill positions and facilitate parolees’ ability to secure employment are needed.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)398-420
    Number of pages23
    JournalJournal of Crime and Justice
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jan 25 2016


    • Employment
    • Parolees and recidivism
    • Spatial mismatch

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Law


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