The Ex-Prisoner's Dilemma
How Women Negotiate Competing Narratives of Reentry and Desistance
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Half Title, Series Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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First and foremost, I give my deepest thanks to the women who participated in this project. They generously gave their time and their stories, and the time I spent with them was incredibly rewarding. I continue to think of them often and fondly and wish them the best. Many of the women who participated did...
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Shorty D1 was a thirty-eight-year-old African American mother of two. Her younger son was five and living with her mother; the other was nineteen and at a work release center. As a child, Shorty D was involved with school and extracurricular activities. She described her childhood as a good one and herself as having “had dreams” of a career. She was...
Part I. Becoming an Ex-Offender
Chapter 1. The Mercy Home and the Discourse of Reentry and Desistance
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Halfway houses provide a transition between prison and life in the community, to ease reentry challenges and to foster desistance from future offending. They also provide assistance with employment and housing, two issues at the forefront of reentry discussions. As such, halfway houses are...
Chapter 2. Introducing the Women and Their Pathways to Offending
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Although there is considerable diversity in the experiences of women in this study, in important ways they represent those who are most affected by incarceration today. Like male prisoners, female prisoners are disproportionately poor, African American, and from disadvantaged urban...
Chapter 3. A Year in the Life
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Most contemporary research agrees that desistance is a process, not a single moment in time in which someone switches from being an “offender” to an “ex-offender” or “non-offender.”1 Becoming a desisting offender often means deciding to go straight, not offending for a period of...
Part II. The Social Context of Reentry
Chapter 4. Family Dynamics in Reentry and Desistance
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The women in this study are actively working to re-create their social identities. This includes not only their identity as an ex-offender, prisoner, or drug user, but also their identities as a mother, sister, daughter, girlfriend or wife, and friend. Importantly, these identities often come into...
Chapter 5. Women’s Chosen Relationships and Their Role in Self-Redefinition
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Rates of marriage are low in the low-income African American communities from which most of the women in this study came, and marriage is less central to the expectations and sense of self of many (Collins 2000; 2005; Edin and Kefalas 2005). This was evident among these women as...
Chapter 6. Education, Employment, and a House of One’s Own
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Two of the most commonly discussed needs of ex-prisoners and pathways to successful desistance are employment and housing. The ideal is for ex-prisoners to find a good job and stable housing in a quiet neighborhood, both of which will contribute to a role in conventional society and a...
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The experiences of these women embody desistance as a process. Through starts and stops, progress and setbacks, they actively worked to reconstruct their lives as desisting former offenders and prisoners. They worked to learn what it means to be a desisting offender and drug addict, and how to...
Appendix A. Respondent Characteristics
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Appendix B. Research Methods
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As with all research, this project evolved from the original research proposal to the final product. And, as with all qualitative research, the researcher was an important aspect of the data collection and analysis. In this appendix, I detail the way this project unfolded and my role as researcher...
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Index, About the Author, Series Page
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Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 3 tables
Publication Year: 2014
Series Title: Critical Issues in Crime and Society