Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Pleggenkuhle, Breanne


Positive social support acts as a barrier against life events. Related to crime, positive social support may improve prison institutional behavior, reentry outcomes, and reduce recidivism. Conversely, negative support may create deleterious effects for individuals as they navigate life’s challenges. This dissertation explores the relationships between indicators of positive pre-prison social support (living as a family unit, marriage, financial help) and pre-cursors to negative social support pre-prison (caregiver substance use, family criminal history, growing up in foster care, receiving welfare, living in public housing and physical/sexual abuse) and three forms of carceral social support (visitation, making/receiving phone calls, and religious engagement). These relationships include controlling for factors such as institutional infractions, individual criminal history, years in prison, and distance from prison to home. Results indicate most positive indicators of pre-prison social support predict increases in the odds of visitation, making/receiving phone calls, and religious engagement while incarcerated. Similarly, many of the pre-cursors to negative pre-prison social support predict decreases in the odds of carceral support. Last, this project considers how pre-prison social support, both positive and negative, behaves when conditioned with crime type (violent, drug, and public-order). Following the results, there are policy implications for corrections when it comes to the relationship between pre-prison and carceral support.




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