Home is Hard to Find: Neighborhoods, Institutions, and the Residential Trajectories of Returning Prisoners
Harding, David, Jeffrey Morenoff, and Claire Herbert. 2013. “Home is Hard to Find: Neighborhoods, Institutions, and the Residential Trajectories of Returning Prisoners.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 647(1):214–236.
Poor urban communities experience high rates of incarceration and prisoner reentry. This paper examines the residences where former prisoners live after prison, focusing on returns to pre-prison social environments, residential mobility, and the role of intermediate sanctions. Drawing on a unique dataset that follows a cohort of Michigan parolees released in 2003 over time using administrative records, we examine returns to pre-prison environments, both immediately after prison and in the months and years after release. We then investigate the role of intermediate sanctions – punishments for parole violations that are less severe than returning to prison – in residential mobility among parolees. Our results show low rates of return to former neighborhoods and high rates of residential mobility after prison, a significant portion of which is driven by intermediate sanctions resulting from criminal justice system supervision. These results suggest that, through parole supervision, the criminal justice system generates significant residential mobility.