Date of Award

5-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

Abstract

Prison reentry has been defined as all of the preparations undertaken to ensure a proper return to one’s community after serving time in prison. There are number of autobiographies, as well as considerable academic research, on the experience of incarceration and the resulting barriers to prison reentry, but little research that has explored the process of release, the long-term effects of having been imprisoned, and the ability to achieve and maintain post- release success. Much of the criminological and psychological analyses examine programs or processes to determine if they are correlated to successful prison reentry without considering what the ex-offenders, themselves, have to say about their prison, life-course, and reentry experiences. This research project sketched the carceral (experiences while incarcerated) of 10 African-American, formerly chemically dependent, men who reentered the city under examination, after serving time in a State Department of Corrections. This research project also addressed the social and personal circumstances the ex-offenders experienced after their release from prison into socially disorganized communities, explored how ex-offenders were able to negotiate their communities, and identified what cultural resilience factors were useful in helping these individuals to move successfully from prison to the community. Using a directed-content analysis, four themes emerged. The qualitative interviews with the ex-offenders yielded four essential components of a successful reentry process: 1) self-reliance/self-control, 2) help from others, 3) altruism, and 4) disavowal of stigma. The research participants validated the Cultural Resilience Model to the exclusion of the category related to racism.

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