The Impact of Federal Prison Industries Employment on the Recidivism Outcomes of Female Inmates Justice Quarterly

Female offenders face many barriers to employment, including a lack of education and work experience. Correctional work programs offer skills training and exposure to work routines and norms, yet there is scant research on whether these programs can increase a woman's employability, and thus reduce recidivism, upon release. This longitudinal study examines whether employment in the federal prison industries program, UNICOR, reduces recidivism among a large sample of female inmates. This study finds no significant differences in rearrest or recommitment to federal prison between inmates employed in UNICOR and those who were not. Length of UNICOR employment is also not shown to have an effect on recidivism. Gender-specific needs of female offenders should be considered when developing correctional programming as factors other than employment may be more salient to a woman's ability to desist from crime.

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