Longitudinal Associations among Child Support Debt, Employment, and Recidivism after Prison

Using longitudinal data from a prisoner reentry program, the authors look to examine the impact of child support debt on employment and recidivism. Findings indicate that more debt was not associated with recidivism, but was significantly linked to a decrease in legitimate employment. This article discusses those findings and policy implications for reentry, employment and legal financial implications. 

Key Findings: 

  • An increase in the amount of child support debt was associated with a 6 percent decrease in the odds of reporting legitimate employment.
  • Rearrest significantly predicted changes in later employment; the effect of being arrested between release and 3 months post release was associated with a 39 percent reduction in the likelihood of reporting employment between 3 and 9 months post release.
  • Having a high school education or GED predicted employment.
  • Findings 3 months post release showed that increasing child support was associated with a reduction in rearrest.
  • Reporting legitimate employment significantly reduced the odds of rearrest by 62 percent and 61 percent at 3 and 15 months months post release, respectively. 

Read the full text here.

Nathan W. Link and Caterina G. Roman
The Sociological Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 1, 140-160