Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology/Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Tracy Sohoni

Committee Member

Randy Gainey

Committee Member

Sylwia Piatkowska


Although the relationship between prison programs and recidivism has been extensively researched, few studies have examined the role of commitment as a part of social bond theory and its relationship to prison programs and recidivism. Based on a nationwide sample of 9,890 prisoners, the concept of commitment is used as a paradigm to understand whether completion of prison programs increases bonds of commitment to conventional activities thereby reducing the rate of recidivism. The analyses indicate that commitment improves recidivism outcomes for offenders who completed alcohol and drug treatment programs but not for those in vocational and educational programs. These results indicate that future studies of prison programs and re- entry success should examine the role of educational attainment prior to incarceration and how that effects recidivism outcomes. Also, the role of differential association theory and its effects of recidivism outcomes should be taken into consideration.



Included in

Criminology Commons