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People, Places, and Things: The Social Process of Reentry for Female Ex-Offenders

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2006
320 pages
This study examined the social lives of female ex-offenders to determine the features of their relationships after their release from prison.
Most of the women were African-Americans who had been convicted of drug-related offenses. After their release from prison, relationships with their families of origin remained important sources of both support and stress. The strain on family relationships depended on the women's current pattern of offending and drug use, but rarely were the family relationships ended. Few of the women had romantic relationships with individuals who had no history of drug use or offending; however, some of these relationships were constructive when both were making an effort to deal with their problems. Some of the women refrained from romantic relationships in the course of their commitment to rehabilitation, believing that it was important for them to establish their independence and achieve rehabilitative successes before seeking a romantic partner. The author recommends more research on the effects of various types of relationships, particularly cohabitation and same-sex relationships, as well as specific factors that can change a relationship for better or worse. Findings are also presented on the women's education, employment, housing, and neighborhood. The 49 women participants in the study were current or former residents of a Chicago halfway house. They were recruited for the study from September 2003 through January 2004. At the time interviews began, the women had been out of prison for between a few weeks to 9 years. The women were interviewed four times over the course of a year. Interviews were also conducted with some of the members of the women's social network, including parents, siblings, adult children, romantic partners, friends, and coworkers. 6 tables, appended interview guide, and 165 references

Date Published: August 1, 2006