Date of Conferral







Donna Russell



The issue addressed in this study was the increasing number of prisoners in U.S. prisons and the related issue of recidivism after release. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the experiences of 8 formerly incarcerated adults. The conceptual foundation of this study was based on Bandura's self-efficacy theory and Vygotsky's concept of the zone of proximal development and transformational learning. The research question for this study inquired about how released prisoners perceive their educational experiences in the MTM program. Participants were selected among adults who were incarcerated for at least 12 months and living in the community for at least 3 to 6 months since their release and are participants in a work skills program titled "Men Transforming Men" (MTM), which is designed to develop resilience and productive work skills to increase their ability to find a job. Data were collected from 8 participants in face-to-face interviews. To identify patterns and themes, the data were transcribed and coded using a web-based software application called Dedoose. The results of this study revealed four relevant themes: personal improvement goals, connecting with family and community, early release from prison, and improving their lives outside of prison. Further findings discovered the perception of each participant pertaining to the educational program overwhelmingly voiced their feelings about getting another opportunity to change. The positive social change implications of this research involves reducing the percentage of recidivism rates of formerly incarcerated individuals in the United States by increasing the number of parolees obtaining employment after release from prison.