Religious Involvement, Moral Community and Social Ecology: New Considerations in the Study of Religion and Reentry

Richard Stansfield, Thomas J. Mowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To examine the link between an individual’s religious involvement in prison and recidivism and assess how macro-level conditions in the counties to which individuals return shape this relationship. Methods: Using data from 1362 previously incarcerated people, a series of hierarchical generalized linear models are used to examine the extent to which an individual’s religious involvement in prison relates to recidivism post-release. We also examine how county-level religious adherence, economic disadvantage, and potential social service assistance directly affect recidivism, and how each shape the relationship between religious involvement and recidivism. Results: Findings show that county-level religious adherence was directly associated with lower recidivism, but individual-level religious involvement was not when assessing recidivism over longer periods of time post-release. Cross-level interactions revealed that county-level resource deprivation conditions the effect of individual religious involvement. Conclusions: Findings have theoretical implications for the study of religion and reentry. Methodologically, failing to account for the religious context of counties, in addition to micro–macro linkages, harms individual level research on religion and reentry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-516
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Quantitative Criminology
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

Keywords

  • Moral community
  • Prisoner reentry
  • Recidivism
  • Religiosity
  • Social ecology

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