Dr. Michael Hallett, Professor
Faculty Mentor Department
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Recently released criminal offenders are generally subjected to heavy stigma as they reenter society which is compounded by the general isolation that many feel upon release. Because of these difficulties, re-entry programs can be an effective and prosocial way for ex-offenders to reintegrate back into the community and workforce. This project was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a local faith-based, non-profit re-entry program in Duval County between the years 2015 and 2019. Prisoners of Christ (POC) services both low and high-risk offenders through their employment assistance and residential housing programs. We conducted quantitative research on POC participants utilizing rearrest data from the Florida Department of Corrections and Duval County Jail databases (N = 546). Our quantitative methods included a Chi-Square Test of Independence to determine if there was a significant difference between the employed and unemployed groups on the outcome of rearrest. Our findings supported a statistically significant difference between groups (p = 0.0496), therefore we continued to evaluate the strength of the correlation between employment and rearrest through the Phi test. Our results indicated a weak correlation ( supporting our theoretical framework of employment as a desistance signal. Subsequently, we conducted qualitative interviews with “successful desisters” to better understand the phenomenology of the desistance process through Prisoners of Christ participants. Results indicated an importance of internal change, prosocial ties, and stable employment. Future research is recommended to determine if there are specific aspects of employment that increase a person's likelihood of desisting from crime such as type of work and pay scale.
Steckley, Caitlin J.; Friedman, Emily; and Simmons, Rachel
"Employment Assistance and Offender Desistance: An Evaluation of Recidivism in a Faith-based Re-entry Program,"
PANDION: The Osprey Journal of Research and Ideas: Vol. 2
, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unf.edu/pandion_unf/vol2/iss1/7