Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Incarceration and social networks: Understanding the relationships that support reentry
by Weill, Joanna M., Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz, 2016, 130; 10244913
Abstract (Summary)

Previous research demonstrates that social support is essential for successful reentry into the community after incarceration. However, little research examines how incarceration itself impacts social support and how individuals with different incarceration histories have different experiences of social support. This dissertation examined how individuals’ social networks, social support, and wellbeing are predicted by incarceration history. Formerly incarcerated men returning from jail and prison (N = 68) were interviewed in a procedure designed to collect information about their criminal justice histories, to map their social networks, to provide open-ended feedback about their reentry experience, and to collect a variety of other relevant demographic and scale measures. Analyses of the resulting data provided little evidence that an individual’s most recent incarceration impacts their social network, social support, or wellbeing. However, conditions of individuals’ previous and lifetime incarcerations did have significant predictive power. Individuals who were incarcerated for longer in prison in the past, incarcerated in any setting for longer in the past, incarcerated in any setting for longer throughout their lifetime, and/or incarcerated further from home throughout their lifetime were found to have less support available to them. Conditions of previous and lifetime incarceration also predicted alter closeness, the incarceration history of alters, and participant wellbeing. The relationships between previous and lifetime incarceration and these outcomes were not mediated by participants’ prisonization or by their identification with people inside or people outside of prison and jail. Qualitative analyses provided additional information about support during reentry, including highlighting the physical and emotional distance created by incarceration, the important role that technology and social media plays in support after reentry, and the complicated nature of relationships with other individuals who have been incarcerated. These findings can be used by correctional facilities, probation and parole officers, and non-profit and government service providers to help determine which reentering individuals are least likely to have support and close network members, and which individuals are most likely to have a greater prevalence of formerly incarcerated network members and poor wellbeing. Providing these individuals with additional reentry services has the potential to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Haney, Craig
Commitee: Schoenman, Roger, Zurbriggen, Eileen L.
School: University of California, Santa Cruz
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 78/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Law, Psychology, Criminology
Keywords: Incarceration, Reentry, Social networks, Social psychology, Social support
Publication Number: 10244913
ISBN: 978-1-369-49146-3
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