How Offenders Transform Their Lives
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About the author
Bonita Veysey, Johnna Christian, and Damian J. Martinez are all based at the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University.
At a time when the scale of imprisonment in the United States has reached a historic high, researchers estimate that more than 600,000 individuals a year are released from prison to return to their home communities. These individuals have serious needs, such as finding employment and housing, reuniting with family members, and obtaining healthcare and treatment for alcohol and substance abuse problems. While research in this area has stressed these aspects of the transition from prison, a less explored area of research considers the role of internal identity shifts from that of an offender to one of citizen, and how this creates the conditions for desistance from criminal behavior both within the confines of a correctional facility and in the reentry process.
This book presents a series of studies (mostly qualitative) that investigate individual identity transformation from offender status to pro-social, non-offending roles. Moreover, the work in this volume highlights the perspectives of the men and women who are current or formerly incarcerated people. Each piece provides an empirical analysis of the interaction between current or former prisoners and innovative pro-social programs and networks, which are grounded in the most current theoretical work about individual transformation and change.
This book will be of interest to undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers and lecturers in all fields within the social sciences, but especially criminology and criminal justice and sociology and social work/welfare.
Taylor and Francis
; January 2013
288 pages; ISBN 9781134028429Read online
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Title: How Offenders Transform Their Lives
Author: Bonita Veysey; Johnna Christian; Damian J. Martinez
In the press
'This collection of 11 articles reflects the enduring significance of symbolic interactionism as a source of insights worth putting into practice with incarcerated populations and those facing the challenges of reentry to society. Each contribution addresses the pressing concern for evidence-based approaches that can convincingly respond to the "what works?" question, which continues to dominate criminal justice debates. Some are more convincing than others are, but the rich detail of mostly qualitative data about offenders' navigation away from stigmatized identities is thought provoking. The applications of theory are appropriate and affecting, achieving an intelligent prescription for more attention to the dynamics of relationship and interpersonal communication in both prison and community-based programs. Understandably, extensive concerns with addiction recovery efforts are explored as essential to the prospects for desistence from crime. The authors share compelling illustrations of how group interactions influence individual narratives and self-transformation. Concern with the currencies of socially constructed meaning is connected to more distant outcomes of lifestyle change more by persuasion than by available longitudinal data, leaving the answer to "what works?" still a work in progress. Nevertheless, their logic bears broad consideration by professionals in corrections. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.' – R. Zingraff, James Madison University in Choice