Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The current study is informed by narrative accounts of 39 released prisoners, who provide day-to-day understandings of how they have experienced and continue to experience community reintegration. This study digs deeper into the intricacies of returning to free society, one that often disenfranchises and labels ex-offenders, and attempts to reveal how released prisoners themselves see family as pertinent in their reentry experiences. Respondents' stories are telling of the resources they draw upon, and in particular how their families are involved in that process. Findings suggest that families at times provide material and emotional support, but may also facilitate drug use for ex-offenders. Family was also found to exert "reintegrative shame" and "disintegrative stigmatization," which was both motivational and detrimental to our respondents' hopes for rehabilitation. The present study suggests that regardless of whether family helps or impedes the rehabilitation of ex-offenders, their presence, or lack thereof greatly shapes reentry experiences. The academic literature on prisoner reentry should thus place a greater focus on the family.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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