Critical Issues - Community Re-Integration

From: Behavioral Sciences and the Law, Vol. 15, 1997

The Benefits of Social Support for Mentally Ill Offenders: Prison-to-Community Transitions

Joseph E. Jacoby, Ph.D.
Brenda Kozie-Peak, M.A.


This paper provides results of a longitudinal study of 27 mentally ill prison inmates who were released from Ohio State prisons in 1994-1996. The object of this paper is to test the hypothesis that subjects who receive better social support will experience more positive social adjustment, higher quality of life, and lower recidivism.

Subjects, identified by prison staff, were interviewed and given independent psychological evaluations shortly before their release. They were then interviewed repeatedly during the first year after their release from prison about many aspects of social adjustment.

Social support, provided both in and after release from prison, was associated with higher quality of life after release from prison. Social support provided in either context, however, was not significantly related to criminal recidivism or psychiatric hospitalization after release from prison.

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