The Association of Geographic Congruence With Postrelease Substance Use and Reincarceration

Amanda M. Bunting, Martha Tillson, Michele Staton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research examined consistency in living in the same geographical area pre- and post-incarceration as a predictor of postrelease substance use and recidivism. Data from a 2018–2020 cohort of the Criminal Justice Kentucky Treatment Outcome Study (n = 935) were analyzed. Rural–urban congruence compared the county an individual reported living in prior to incarceration to the county they reported living in at the time of their follow-up. Logistic regressions examined the relationship between postrelease reentry supports and rural–urban congruence with outcomes. Postrelease, 41% of individuals were urban–urban congruent, 43% rural–rural congruent, and 16% incongruent. No differences were found for postrelease substance use. Congruent individuals were more likely to be reincarcerated during follow-up. For rural-congruent individuals, this relationship was influenced by employment. Specifically, they were less likely to be employed postrelease, which increased risk of reincarceration. The current research suggests that postrelease employment challenges may be partially driving recidivism risk among rural-congruent individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-619
Number of pages12
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology.


  • employment
  • longitudinal
  • prisoner reentry
  • recidivism
  • substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • General Psychology
  • Law


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