Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology/Criminal Justice

Committee Director

Melvina Sumter

Committee Member

Ingrid Whitaker

Committee Member

Scott Maggard


Employment is an essential component of the reintegration process for returning offenders. As one of the eight criminogenic needs, improving employment opportunities for returning offenders increases the ability of returning offenders to reintegrate back into the community, as well as decreases the potential threat of recidivism. However, further research is needed to examine how an offenders’ prospectus from educational experiences influences their perceptions of finding legal employment after release. The current study contributes to current literature by explaining why employment is a barrier to offender reentry, specifically, how educational factors influence an offender’s belief that he or she will find legal employment after release. Travis Hirschi’s social bond theory provides the theoretical framework guiding this study. Results from the current study suggest that an offender who believes that he or she can return to go school and further his or her education generates positive perceptions of finding legal employment after release. As well, results suggest that an offender who has access to social networks and resources perceives his or her ability to find legal employment after release negatively. Based on findings from this study, policy makers should consider integrating more educational programs that afford offenders the opportunity to return to school and enhance their human capital into criminal justice reform policies, as well as socialize offenders on how to effectively utilize networks and resources within their respective communities.





Included in

Criminology Commons