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Life on parole: The quality of experiences soon after release contributes to a conviction‐free re‐entry

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Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health

Published online on


["\nAbstract\n\nBackground\nPeople returning to the community after prison face many challenges, including finding suitable accommodation and employment, and accessing good social support. The prospects are particularly poor for high‐risk offenders with up to a third of those released in New Zealand returning to prison within 100 days.\n\n\nAims/hypotheses\nWe developed the Parole Experiences Measure (PEM) to quantify the quality of men's life experiences during the first weeks of re‐entry from prison. We aimed to answer the question, can the quality of life experiences differentiate men who survive in the community without reconviction from those who do not?\n\n\nMethods\nUsing a longitudinal design, we examined whether PEM scores for 178 men with extensive histories of crime and violence predicted three recidivism indices (breach of parole, reconviction and reimprisonment) over a 12‐month follow‐up period.\n\n\nResults\nWe found that PEM scores predicted all three indices of recidivism. Of the two PEM subscales, external circumstances (finances, support, accommodation) were more predictive of recidivism than subjective wellbeing (mental and physical health).\n\n\nConclusions/implications\nThe results suggest that meeting basic practical needs in the early months of parole may be more important to avoiding reconviction than attending only to mental and physical health.\n", "Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, EarlyView. "]