Women at the Nexus of Correctional and Social Policies: Implications for Recidivism Risk

Merry Morash, Deborah A. Kashy, Miriam Northcutt Bohmert, Jennifer E. Cobbina, Sandi W. Smith
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From: British Journal of Criminology

This article addresses criticism by critical and feminist criminologists who fault the Risk/Needs/Responsivity corrections model for ignoring state-created recidivism risks. It examines the connection between women offenders’ changes in access to economic safety net benefits and changes in individual recidivism risk. Longitudinal quantitative data were from 345 women interviewed six months apart in a state with extreme benefits cuts. Loss of monetary assistance and new unmet need for housing aid were significantly related to increased economic-related recidivism risk. Women with consistent unmet needs and those who received benefits had high levels of risk over time. Women with persistent unmet economic need had high levels of other risk that included mental illness and substance abuse. Findings reveal inconsistencies between polices that reduce availability of economic benefits to the poor and the correctional goals of reducing recidivism risk.


Morash, M., Kashy, D., Northcutt Bohmert, M., Cobbina, J. & Smith , S. (2017). Women at the nexus of correctional and social policies: Implications for recidivism risk.  British Journal of Criminology 57(2): 441-462.