Prison Education, Reentry, Racial Disparities, Employment, Sociology
Previous studies rarely examined racial disparities in post-release employment and recidivism. Finding a job is an immediate challenge to all released ex-prisoners, and often more difficult for African American ex-prisoners who typically return to economically-depressed neighborhoods upon release from prison. The present researchers conducted a 5-year (2005-2009) follow-up study in an attempt to understand racial disparities in post-release employment and recidivism among 6,394 released ex-prisoners (2,531 Caucasian and 3,863 African American), while controlling for the ex-prisoner’s level of education. Results of this study showed that African American ex-prisoners had a higher unemployment rate and recidivism rate than Caucasian ex-prisoners. This study also revealed that released ex-prisoners, if employed, would likely be under-employed and experience difficulties in sustaining employment, regardless of the ex-prisoner’s ethnicity. Most importantly, post-release employment and level of education were the two most influential predictors to recidivism among ex-prisoners, regardless of ethnicity.
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