Employing GIScience to Address the Perceived Needs and Service Use among Youth Offenders Preparing for Reentry to Rural and Urban Communities

H. Jason Combs, Paul Burger, Christina Sogar, Julie Campbell, Timbre Wulf, Suzanne Maughan, Jody Van Laningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


With an 85 percent recidivism rate within the first five years following detention and less than 20 percent completing high school, once incarcerated youth often face an uphill battle. This study examines the level of accessibility of services within home communities for Nebraska youth aged fifteen-nineteen years following detention. GIS is utilized to spatially evaluate the availability of youth-related services in the five categories of: housing assistance, job training, mental health, physical health, and transitional living to analyze gaps in the spatial landscape across Nebraska. Results indicate that while over 99 percent of youth have access to health care within a 30-minute drive time, roughly 24 percent lack housing assistance or transitional living services. Excluding youth from metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), over 97 percent still have access to health care, but job training is inaccessible to over 50 percent within a 30-minute drive time and jumps to 66 percent when a 15-minute drive time is considered. GIS provides a framework for analyzing and identifying spatial disparities in accessibility and provides policymakers a tool for finding solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalPapers in Applied Geography
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 3 2019



  • Crime
  • GIS
  • Nebraska
  • recidivism
  • social services
  • spatial analysis
  • youth incarceration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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