As prison populations increase, the need for successful reintegration of ex-prisoners becomes more pressing. The challenge of what has become known as 're-entry' has stimulated an extensive body of research, much of it concentrated in a small number of jurisdictions and concerned with levels and predictors of recidivism. The limited geographic breadth of the research effort has hindered our capacity to consider theoretically relevant questions, such as whether particular societal conditions thought to be conducive to successful prisoner reintegration (e.g. high levels of social capital and informal social control) in fact translate into lower levels of recidivism. In this article we expand the reach of existing research by exploring levels and patterns of recidivism in uncharted territory-the Republic of Ireland-and by drawing out the implications of the patterns observed there for comparative analysis.
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