“The Effects of Age at Prison Release on Women’s Desistance Trajectories: a Mixed-Method Analysis” 

Kerrison Erin M., Bachman Ronet, and Paternoster Raymond. (September 2016). Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology. Accessed June 27, 2017

Study Abstract: The purpose of this study is to measure the effect that age has on women’s gendered prisoner reentry experiences and the likelihood of desisting from crime and substance abuse. This study also seeks to evaluate the applicability of Paternoster and Bushway’s (2009) Identity Theory of Desistance (ITD) for a contemporary, all-female sample. Methods This mixed-method study makes use of official arrest data for 218 women leaving Delaware prisons in the mid 1990s, to create group-based offending trajectory models. A representative subsample of 118 women was interviewed between 2009 and 2011 and asked to conceptualize the mechanisms that led to their desistance or persistence in offending. Results Multinomial logistic regression analyses reveal that for some of the sample, age at the time of release from prison has a positive effect on the likelihood that women will belong to a desisting trajectory group rather than the most deviant reference group. Interview narratives demonstrate that in navigating the post-incarceration gendered experiences of securing employment, family reunification, and substance abuse recovery, maturity, clarity about one’s personal responsibility for linked failures, and a desire to transform one’s identity were significant factors that preceded the capacity to excel in those reentry domains. Conclusions These findings lend support for the applicability of ITD for women’s desistance experiences. As older women appear to express a reentry goal orientation that diverges from that of their younger counterparts, gender-responsive rehabilitation agendas must also include programming that increases the likelihood that participants will connect failures sooner so that the prosocial benefits of a healthy identity change can be enjoyed for longer.


Accounting for Violence: How to Increase Safety and Break Our Failed Reliance on Mass Incarceration.

Sered, Danielle. New York: Vera Institute of Justice, 2017.

Abstract: In the United States, violence and mass incarceration are deeply entwined, though evidence shows that both can decrease at the same time. A new vision is needed to meaningfully address violence and reduce the use of incarceration—and to promote healing among crime survivors and improve public safety. This report describes four principles to guide policies and practices that aim to reduce violence: They should be survivor-centered, based on accountability, safety-driven, and racially equitable.

Coming Home from Jail: The Social and Health Consequences of Community Reentry for Women, Male Adolescents, and Their Families and Communities.

Freudenberg, et al. American Journal of Public Health. October 2005. Vol. 95 No. 10.

Abstract: Each year, more than 10 million people enter US jails, most returning home within a few weeks. Because jails concentrate people with infectious and chronic diseases, substance abuse, and mental health problems, and reentry policies often exacerbate these problems, the experiences of people leaving jail may contribute to health inequities in the low-income communities to which they return. Our study of the experiences in the year after release of 491 adolescent males and 476 adult women returning home from New York City jails shows that both populations have low employment rates and incomes and high re-arrest rates. Few received services in jail. However, overall drug use and illegal activity declined significantly in the year after release. Post-release employment and health insurance were associated with lower re-arrest rates and drug use. Public policies on employment, drug treatment, housing, and health care often blocked successful reentry into society from jail, suggesting the need for new policies that support successful reentry into society.

Cory Booker, After Touring a Prison, Renews Vow for Criminal Justice Overhaul.

Hulse, Carl. The New York times. August 5, 2016. Accessed August 16, 2016.

Opening paragraph: After touring a federal prison on Thursday, Senator Cory Booker Democrat of New Jersey, said he was more determined than ever to push through comprehensive criminal justice legislation that would cut mandatory minimum sentences and create new programs to ease prisoners’ re-entry into their communities.

Overlooked: Women in Jails in an Era of Reform

Swavola, Elizabeth, Riley, Kristi, & Subramaniam, Ram.The Vera Institute. (August 2016). Accessed August 18, 2016. 

Abstract: Women in jail are the fastest-growing correctional population in the country—increasing fourteen fold between 1970 and 2014, yet little research examines this increase. This report examines what research exists, offers a portrait of women in jail, examines how incarceration deepens societal disadvantages, and how the trend can be reversed.

Jails and Prisons