Roads Diverge: Long-Term Patterns of Relapse, Recidivism and Desistance for a Re-Entry Cohort

Ronet Bachman, Principal Investigator
Daniel J. O’Connell, Co-Principal Investigator
Ray Paternoster, Co-Investigator
Christy Visher, Co-Investigator
Steven S. Martin, Co-Investigator
Ronald A. Beard, Field Director
Judi Buchanan, Interviewer
Erin Kerrison, Graduate Research Assistant

Initiated: 2009

Funding Source: National Institute of Justice

Project Summary:

This project takes advantage of existing data from a large longitudinal treatment evaluation study of drug-involved offenders to identify long-term patterns or “trajectories” of recidivism, desistance, and relapse in a large, mixed race and gender sample first identified in the 1990s. The project plots trajectories of criminal involvement over a period of 10-15 years after release from prison by completing criminal and drug involvement histories on the cohort up to the present, making it possible to describe patterns of criminal and drug involvement as a function of demographic characteristics and ensuing life events. The project also utilizes these trajectories to create a sampling framework indentifying different types of offending patterns: desisters, persisters, episodic, maturational, and potentially others. Subjects will then be sampled from each trajectory of interest (oversampling women), and a total of 300 in-depth semi-structured follow-up interviews will be conducted, including updated life calendar data as well as retrospective and current information on mental and physical health and other related attitude and behaviors. Ultimately, these data will be used to assess existing theories and new hypotheses on the putative causes of identified criminal offending patterns.