Title

Understanding Resilience and Protective Factors among Released Offenders.

Presenter Information

VanKe'via GarnerFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Clinical Psychology

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Dr. Esther Malm

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Offender reentry has continuously attracted the attention of criminal justice professionals, as approximately 650,000 offenders are being released from prison or jail per year. After incarceration, released offenders encounter a myriad of challenges that prohibit successful transition into the community. Existing studies has focused more on risk factors that contribute to recidivism, rather than protective factors that contribute to desistance – abstaining from criminal activity. Research has proposed that individual factors are essential to the desistance process. Being an understudied area, this study sought to examine what internal factors (e.g., readiness to change/motivation and coping skills) are associated with desistance among released offenders. Data was collected on 183 participants (Mage = 35.73, SD = 8.99) recruited from Amazon MTURK as part of a larger study. Approximately 74% had been previously incarcerated in prison, 24% had been previously incarcerated in jail, and 62% had been previously incarcerated in a juvenile facility. Participants were primarily men (62%), Caucasian (71%), or held a college-level, trade, or higher-level degree (68%). A series of linear regressions were conducted. Results showed that there was a significant positive association between readiness to change/motivation (β= .22, p < .01) and criminal desistance, but not coping skills (β= -.03, p = .75). Although internal features are important to promoting desistance, specific factors such as readiness to change/motivation are critical for desistance and successful reentry. Therefore, professionals working with released offenders should focus on assessing readiness to change/motivation and developing effective interventions that promote readiness to change.

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Understanding Resilience and Protective Factors among Released Offenders.

Offender reentry has continuously attracted the attention of criminal justice professionals, as approximately 650,000 offenders are being released from prison or jail per year. After incarceration, released offenders encounter a myriad of challenges that prohibit successful transition into the community. Existing studies has focused more on risk factors that contribute to recidivism, rather than protective factors that contribute to desistance – abstaining from criminal activity. Research has proposed that individual factors are essential to the desistance process. Being an understudied area, this study sought to examine what internal factors (e.g., readiness to change/motivation and coping skills) are associated with desistance among released offenders. Data was collected on 183 participants (Mage = 35.73, SD = 8.99) recruited from Amazon MTURK as part of a larger study. Approximately 74% had been previously incarcerated in prison, 24% had been previously incarcerated in jail, and 62% had been previously incarcerated in a juvenile facility. Participants were primarily men (62%), Caucasian (71%), or held a college-level, trade, or higher-level degree (68%). A series of linear regressions were conducted. Results showed that there was a significant positive association between readiness to change/motivation (β= .22, p < .01) and criminal desistance, but not coping skills (β= -.03, p = .75). Although internal features are important to promoting desistance, specific factors such as readiness to change/motivation are critical for desistance and successful reentry. Therefore, professionals working with released offenders should focus on assessing readiness to change/motivation and developing effective interventions that promote readiness to change.