Date of Conferral





Human Services


Gregory Hickman


AbstractTransitional programs prepare previously incarcerated individuals (PIIs) to re-enter society and acquire employment. However, many such programs have failed to offset the effects of prisonization, a process that affects the social skills needed for the job interview process and employment acquisition. The purpose of this generic qualitative research study was to explore the experiences and perceptions of PIIs after participation in a transitional program and a job interview. The theoretical foundation for the study included the theories of prisonization and self-efficacy. The research question concerned experiences and perceptions of 23 to 39-year-old PIIs regarding the job interview process after serving a prison sentence of 5 or more years and participating in a transitional program. The study involved a purposeful and snowball sampling strategy, online recruitment using Facebook, and an eight-step process of content analysis. The results from four PIIs revealed four overarching themes: (a) inadequate transition programs leave PIIs unprepared for the interview process and mental challenges of rejection due to having a criminal record; (b) employer rejection affects self-esteem and self-efficacy, leading to rejection avoidance, entrepreneurial mindset development, entrepreneurial ventures, and mentoring others in job acquisition skills and entrepreneurship; (c) preincarceration and incarceration experiences affect postincarceration experiences; and (d) prisonization affects social identity. This study may contribute to positive social change by informing counselors of the psychological needs of PIIs, the body of knowledge regarding theories of prisonization and self-efficacy, and advocacy groups that seek to affect legislation for initiatives to prevent recidivism.