Date of Conferral





Criminal Justice


Jessie Lee


People released from incarceration are not equipped to deal with the challenges of transitioning back into society. Previous research on reentry suggests that correctional institutions may fail to adequately prepare inmates to transition to community life at the time of release, and little research addresses the perspectives of incarcerated people who have experienced reentry. Using social justice theory and the institutional analysis and development framework as guides, the purpose of this ethnographic study of reentry programs in a western state was to (a) determine how well they meet the needs of ex-offenders receiving reentry services, (b) identify best practices if their needs are being met, and (c) document challenges experienced by participants and program staff. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with 2 staff members, and 12 male and 3 female ex-offenders recruited through flyers at three different reentry programs. Interviews were transcribed, subjected to deductive coding, and a thematic analysis procedure. The key finding of this study was that participation in reentry programs supports the values and hope of second chances for ex-offenders, but formerly incarcerated people need access to resources and support in order to achieve social and financial independence. The results of this study validated the two theoretical frameworks used. To the results of the study indicate that program administrators should establish methods to monitor and track outcome success, and policy makers should consider increases in funding to expand reentry projects that have demonstrated successful reentry projects and thus promote improved public safety outcomes.