Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, Vol 1, No 1 (2010)
Laura S Abrams, Bridget Freisthler
“Most research on youth reentering the community following incarceration has focused on individual-level risks for negative outcomes; in doing so, researchers have largely overlooked the potential importance of the neighborhood contexts to which youth return. To address this research gap, we explore the associations between the level of neighborhood risks and resources and the rates of youth reentering the community following incarceration. Using spatial analysis to examine archival data from 272 postal codes for Los Angeles County, California, we find positive associations between rates of youth reentry and neighborhood characteristics of unemployment, poverty, and racial/ethnic minority concentration. Analysis also shows reentry rates are positively associated with neighborhood risks, including density of off-premise alcohol outlets and level of community violence. Examining resources individually, we show that the density of designated youth services is positively associated with reentry rates, whereas the density of education and mental health and substance abuse services is negatively associated with reentry rates. However, when neighborhood risks and resources are considered simultaneously, none of the resources is significantly associated with rates of youth reentry. The study findings highlight the relevance of neighborhood context in youth reentry research and suggest several directions for future study.”
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