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An Examination of Rural Prisoner Reentry Challenges

For this project, Justice Center researchers analyzed the key needs and challenges facing prisoners returning to rural areas. Very few programs address the skills that are most strongly associated with recidivism reduction.

Project Team

  • Principal Investigator: Gary Zajac, Ph.D. (gxz3@psu.edu)
  • Research Assistant: Courtney Meyer, M.A.
  • Graduate Assistant: Robert Hutchison, M.A.

About the Project

  • Funded by Center for Rural Pennsylvania’s 2012 Research Grant Projects initiative.
  • One of the first studies to focus on rural reentry (previous research examined reentry to urban areas).

Research Questions

  • What are the key needs and challenges facing prisoners returning to rural PA?
  • How do corrections agencies respond to these challenges and what kinds of services are available to inmates upon their release?

Project Details

  • Surveyed 44 rural county jail wardens.
  • Collected data from PADOC and PA Board of Probation and Parole.

Results

  • Most critical reentry needs for returning rural inmates include assistance with employment, housing, and transportation.
  • Very few programs address ex-offenders’ thinking, decision making skills, and problem solving skills; all of which are strongly associated with recidivism reduction.

Final Report