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Public Policy and Administration




AbstractA problem exists for ex-convicts who are undergoing re-assimilation: their career options are limited once the label of ex-convict is applied to them. Labeling, which has created a gap between unsuccessful prisoner reentry and successful prisoner reentry, is a prevalent issue in the United States. Although research is available on the effects of labeling, limited information is available regarding the social effects labeling has on ex-convicts during their reentry process. The purpose of the study was to examine the current policies and procedures of Hillsborough County reentry programs in the state of Florida to investigate why they are failing to assist ex-convicts in successful reentry. This qualitative study with an ethnographic design explored the effects of societal labeling on the ex-convict population in Hillsborough County along with why current county policies and procedures are not ensuring ex-convicts’ basic needs, like housing, education, and employment options, when convicts are released from prison. The theoretical framework guiding this study was Becker’s labeling theory. A random sample of participants was selected including case managers, counselors, ex-convicts, housing specialists, program directors, reentry support managers, and individuals who have or had a direct rapport with ex-convict reentry within Hillsborough County. The findings of this study may contribute to positive social change by pinpointing new knowledge and ex-convict reentry stability, along with valuable policies and procedures for ex-convict reentry programs in Hillsborough County, Florida.

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