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How Residential Change Might Help Ex-Offenders Stay Out of Prison: Findings from a Natural Experiment (IEJ Seminar)

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Many former prisoners return home to the same neighborhood with the same criminal opportunities and criminal peers they had before they went to prison. Yet, if the path to a crime-free life largely requires knifing-off from past situations and establishing new routines, then separating returning offenders from their past criminal contexts may be one way to reduce recidivism and foster desistance.

Professor David Kirk explores the idea of residential change by examining how Hurricane Katrina affected ex-prisoners originally from New Orleans and their likelihood of returning to prison. Kirk discusses potential strategies for fostering residential change among ex-prisoners, focusing specifically on parole residency policies and greater access to housing.

David Kirk, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Texas-Austin, is joined by expert panelists Dr. Edward Rhine (Deputy Director, Office of Policy and Offender Reentry, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction) and Dr. Paul Bellair (Professor of Sociology at OSU).

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