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      The imprisonment-extremism nexus: Continuity and change in activism and radicalism intentions in a longitudinal study of prisoner reentry

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      PLoS ONE

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          Abstract

          There is considerable speculation that prisons are a breeding ground for radicalization. These concerns take on added significance in the era of mass incarceration in the United States, where 1.5 million people are held in state or federal prisons and around 600,000 people are released from prison annually. Prior research relies primarily on the speculation of prison officials, media representations, and/or cross-sectional designs to understand the imprisonment-extremism nexus. We develop a tripartite theoretical model to examine continuity and change in activism and radicalism intentions upon leaving prison. We test these models using data from a large probability sample of prisoners ( N = 802) in Texas interviewed in the week preceding their release from prison and then reinterviewed 10 months later using a validated scale of activism and radicalism intentions. We arrive at three primary conclusions. First, levels of activism decline upon reentry to the community ( d = -0.30, p < .01), while levels of radicalism largely remain unchanged ( d = -0.08, p = .28). What is learned and practiced in prison appears to quickly lose its vitality on the street. Second, salient groups and organizations fell in importance after leaving prison, including country, race/ethnicity, and religion, suggesting former prisoners are occupied by other endeavors. Finally, while we identify few correlates of changes in extremist intentions, higher levels of legal cynicism in prison were associated with increases in both activism and radicalism intentions after release from prison. Efforts designed to improve legal orientations could lessen intentions to support non-violent and violent extremist actions. These results point to an imprisonment-extremism nexus that is diminished largely by the realities of prisoner reentry.

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          Most cited references 79

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          The Mark of a Criminal Record

           Devah Pager (2003)
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            High self-control predicts good adjustment, less pathology, better grades, and interpersonal success.

            What good is self-control? We incorporated a new measure of individual differences in self-control into two large investigations of a broad spectrum of behaviors. The new scale showed good internal consistency and retest reliability. Higher scores on self-control correlated with a higher grade point average, better adjustment (fewer reports of psychopathology, higher self-esteem), less binge eating and alcohol abuse, better relationships and interpersonal skills, secure attachment, and more optimal emotional responses. Tests for curvilinearity failed to indicate any drawbacks of so-called overcontrol, and the positive effects remained after controlling for social desirability. Low self-control is thus a significant risk factor for a broad range of personal and interpersonal problems.
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              The Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: Funding acquisitionRole: InvestigationRole: Project administrationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: Funding acquisitionRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS One
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                30 November 2020
                2020
                : 15
                : 11
                Affiliations
                [1 ] School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, United States of America
                [2 ] Department of Sociology, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States of America
                Geneva University Hospitals, SWITZERLAND
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Article
                PONE-D-20-02318
                10.1371/journal.pone.0242910
                7703914
                33253288
                © 2020 Decker, Pyrooz

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 5, Pages: 21
                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: National Institute of Justice
                Award ID: 2014-MU-CX-0111
                Award Recipient :
                This project was supported by Grant No. 2014-MU-CX-0111 awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The research contained in this document was coordinated in part by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (723-AR15). The contents of this article, including its opinions, findings, and conclusions, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. NIJ and TDCJ had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Publication of this article was funded by the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries Open Access Fund.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Social Sciences
                Law and Legal Sciences
                Criminal Justice System
                Prisons
                Social Sciences
                Law and Legal Sciences
                Criminal Justice System
                Prisons
                Prisoners
                Social Sciences
                Anthropology
                Cultural Anthropology
                Religion
                Social Sciences
                Sociology
                Religion
                Social Sciences
                Economics
                Labor Economics
                Employment
                People and places
                Geographical locations
                North America
                United States
                Texas
                Earth Sciences
                Geography
                Human Geography
                Social Geography
                Neighborhoods
                Social Sciences
                Human Geography
                Social Geography
                Neighborhoods
                People and places
                Geographical locations
                North America
                United States
                Social Sciences
                Sociology
                Social Systems
                Custom metadata
                The data underlying this study have been submitted to the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (ICPSR) and are available for public use. Requests from qualified researchers about data access can be submitted to A.J. Million at the University of Michigan ( millioaj@ 123456umich.edu ).

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