More than 2.5 million emerging adults (ages 18-25) are incarcerated annually and most do poorly after release. Social support after an individual’s release from incarceration is a critical protective factor against recidivism for emerging adults. However, little is known about the stability of support for emerging adults post incarceration. This study uses hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) to examine whether social support declines over time after incarceration and how change in support may vary by incarceration length. Our findings show that, while a nonincarcerated group of justice-involved emerging adults experience relatively stable social support, there are negative and volatile effects of social support among their incarcerated counterparts. Moreover, longer incarceration stays are related to greater deterioration of support over time after community reentry for emerging adults. Study findings advance the field of postincarceration intervention development by responding to the challenge of determining the appropriate targets and length of interventions designed for emerging adults.

Carrie Pettus-Davis, Elaine Eggleston Doherty, Christopher Veeh, Christina Drymon

Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol 44, Issue 10, 2017

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Deterioration of Postincarceration Social Support for Emerging Adults [2017]