The Influence of Social Support on Recidivism of Formerly Incarcerated Individuals

Alison Dockery, Walden University


Individuals who are released from incarceration face many challenges with reintegration into the community, and it is important that they find stable environments to foster positive social integration. Family involved treatment programs have been shown to be successful in many areas for reentry. However, these programs lack information regarding the relationship between the individual's criminal history, risk of recidivism, and social support. This quantitative study was designed to evaluate the impact of social support on recidivism among participants. Secondary data were used from a 3-year period from a reentry program located in a large northeastern city and the Division of Criminal Justice Services. Data on social support were gathered from the family genograms completed by the family social worker prior to or immediately upon release. The individual's criminal history and recidivism risk assessment score were obtained from the Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS), respectively. The dependent variable was recidivism. The independent variables were perceived positive and conflicted social support, first time offender status, and risk assessment score derived from the COMPAS assessment. This research drew on the risk needs responsivity model, the good lives model, and Bowen's family systems model. Logistic regression analysis showed that there was a significant relationship between first time offender status and recidivism within the first 3 years of release, showing that first time offenders were less likely to recidivate. The findings from this study may lead to positive social change by providing data to improve post-release treatment for first time offenders.