Sociology Ph.D. Dissertations


An Examination of the Effects of Living Arrangements, Family Social Support, Employment, and Neighborhood Perceptions on the Likelihood of Parole Noncompliance and Re-Incarceration for Technical Violations and New Crime Among Men and Women

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Stephen Demuth (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Michael Buerger (Other)

Third Advisor

Danielle Kuhl (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Thomas Mowen (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Raymond Russell Swisher (Committee Member)


Every year in the United States, about 600,000 people return to society from prison (Kirk 2016). More than half of those will return to prison within five years, many for non-criminal behavior (Durose et al 2014; Travis 2007). In the present study, I focus on the `revolving door’ of back-end sentencing in which a person is re-incarcerated for a technical violation rather than a new crime (Travis 2007). My study examines the effects of living arrangements, family social support, employment, and neighborhood perceptions on parole noncompliance and re-incarceration for either a technical violation or a new crime. Also, I explore whether there are gender differences in how these factors affect reentry.

Using data from all four waves of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI), I found that people living with a romantic partner or with family as well as those with higher levels of family emotional support had lower levels of noncompliance than people who lived alone or with strangers. Family instrumental support reduced the likelihood of re-incarceration for both a technical violation and new crimes. Employment reduced the likelihood of re-incarceration, but only for new crimes. Negative neighborhood perceptions were associated with more noncompliance and greater risks of both types of re-incarceration. For gender differences, married or cohabiting women were less likely than women living alone or with roommates to be re-incarcerated for a technical violation, while no such relationship existed for men. Women benefited from greater family emotional support in terms of lowering the likelihood of re-incarceration for a new crime.

These findings provide support for the age graded theory of informal social control. Social bonds that related to emotional closeness (i.e., living with a romantic partner or family, family emotional support) promoted compliance with the conditions of parole. However, social bonds more associated with access to resources (i.e., family instrumental support, employment) reduced the odds of being re-incarcerated. Future research should explore further the effect of social bonds on compliance with specific conditions of parole as well as explore gender differences in reentry with a larger sample of women.