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WVU doctoral candidate finds link between inmate ink, recidivism

Kaitlyn Wolf’s research shows a correlation between visible tattoos and recidivism rates

By C1 Staff

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — A doctoral candidate studying the relationship between inmate tattoos and recidivism has earned an invitation to the fifth Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences.

The State Journal reports that Kaitlyn Wolf’s research shows a correlation between visible tattoos and recidivism rates.

“Urban economics looks at how crime affects individuals and recidivism,” she explained. “If we’re paying $50 a day to house each prisoner, that adds up if people are going back in if they’ve already been through the system.”

Tattoos also affected ex-offenders’ ability to find a job.

“If two ex-cons interview for a job and one has a face tattoo and the other one doesn’t, then the one without the face tattoo is more likely to be hired.”

Wolf relied on data from Florida, which tracks inmate tattoos. Her conclusion was that inmates with visible tattoos return to jail faster and more often than those without.

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