2011-2013 Jorge Martinez


SOCIAL POLICY RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP: 2011-13

Jorge Martinez, a fourth-year PhD student in Sociology, has focused his previous research on gangs and prison culture. Jorge has identified various aspects of gang culture that follow ex-prisoners as they attempt to reintegrate into society. Often, pressures to maintain a gang lifestyle present barriers to living a crime-free life, accumulating assets, and having a stable family life. Ex-felons also face a number of formal restrictions on their activities. For example, many states bar ex-felons from voting. Additionally, many states bar drug felons from receiving public assistance, such as cash welfare, food stamps, and housing vouchers. When combined with the difficulty that many felons face in finding employment, this lack of a safety net poses an additional challenge as these individuals attempt to re-enter society. In his SPR placement, Jorge will be working with the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) to investigate the impact of this ban on public assistance for drug felons. Jorge will combine administrative data from the Department of Corrections and the Department of Social and Health Services to monitor drug offenders’ use of services, recidivism, and experiences of poverty after their release. In consultation with DOC and DSHS, Jorge will prepare a briefing or special report to help inform re-entry policies.