Substance use is a key reason for initial offending and recidivism for the over one million women on probation and parole in the United States. Social support protects against both recidivism and relapse to substance use. However, many women supervised in the community with a history of substance abuse lack social support from family and friends. Probation and parole officers (POs) may serve as sources of social support for such women. In the current study, types of supportive communication and their effects were coded from semistructured interview responses from 284 female offenders who recalled supportive messages from their POs regarding substance use avoidance. Results indicate that informational support is most likely to be provided by POs, whereas tangible and network support were reported infrequently. Most supportive communication was perceived positively. Implications of this study include identification of helpful message strategies for POs and gaps in female offenders’ social support resources.

Amanda J. Holmstrom, Elizabeth A. Adams, Merry Morash, Sandi W. Smith, Jennifer E. Cobbina

Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol 44, Issue 11, 2017

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Supportive Messages Female Offenders Receive From Probation and Parole Officers About Substance Avoidance: Message Perceptions and Effects [2017]