Society: The Ex-Convict’s New Prison?

Faculty Mentor(s)

Professors Kristen Gray, Brigitte Hamon-Porter, Amy Otis-De Grau, Yolanda Vega and John Yelding

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What kind of lifestyle do convicts have after they are released from prison? How easily are they able to reintegrate into society? Why do so many ex-convicts end up coming back to prison? To answer these questions, we explored the underlying causes of recidivism and the dissonance between ex-convicts and the ease of their reintegration into society. To tie in a global aspect, we decided to look at this topic from the perspective of a country similar in culture and economy as the United States: England. Through our research, we discovered two universal, overarching issues: the negative stigma associated with and, the lack of opportunities available to, ex-convicts. In our research, we explore how these issues overlap to exacerbate the problem and suggest ways to resolve the issue. We concluded that the media’s negative portrayal of convicts, ex-convicts, and the prison system play an integral role in molding society’s misconceptions. These misconceptions come to fruition in many ways, one of them being through the reluctance of employers to hire ex-convicts. This issue can begin to be resolved through the implementation of rehabilitation programs that seek to equip ex-convicts with the skills needed to successfully reintegrate into society.

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