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In: Criminology and Public Policy, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2007.


The primary goal of this study is to understand the factors that best explain recidivism among a sample of 322 young men aged 17 to 24 years released from prison in a Midwestern state. Specific attention is paid to the predictive validity of gang membership, gun use, and drug dependence on the timing of reconviction and the current research on desistance frames the analyses. Results from a series of proportional hazard models indicate that race, gang membership, drug dependence, and institutional behavior are critical factors in predicting the timing of reconviction. Contrary to expectations, gun use was not related to postrelease involvement in the criminal justice system.