Objectives: To examine the independent and interdependent roles of baseline religious support during incarceration and within-individual changes in religious support on recidivism during the prisoner reentry process. Methods: Using data from the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative, cross-lagged dynamic panel models are used to examine the respective roles of baseline differences and within-individual changes in religious support on two variety indices encompassing substance use and criminal offending while simultaneously controlling for pre-incarceration levels of substance use and offending. Results: Findings show that within-individual increases in religious support protect against substance use post-release, while baseline levels of religious support do not significantly influence substance use. Additionally, baseline levels of religious support fail to condition this relationship. Findings assessing criminal offending demonstrate that baseline religious support and within-individual changes in religious support fail to relate to offending independently. However, an interaction term reveals that the combination of the two relates to significantly lower levels of offending post-release. Conclusions: Findings offer encouragement for those involved in the work of providing religious support to ex-offenders in the community, reaffirming that tailoring support programs to the religious or spiritual ways individuals make meaning in their lives can improve reentry outcomes. Methodologically, failing to distinguish between baseline levels of religious support and post-release changes in religious support fails to capture the complexity of religiosity on the reentry process.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine