Returning Home: Family Support and Prisoner Reentry

Nancy G. La Vigne, The Urban Institute
Christy Visher, The Urban Institute
Michelle Waul, The Urban Institute
Rebecca Naser, The Urban Institute

This paper will present the results of preliminary analyses of data collected from individual prisoners and their family members during the pilot study (conducted in Maryland) of Returning Home: Understanding the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry. Returning Home seeks to understand the process of prisoner reintegration, including what factors contribute to a successful or unsuccessful reentry experience and how those factors can inform policy. The full study examines the challenges prisoners face upon release from prison and the transition home along five dimensions: 1) the individual trajectory of post-prison adjustment; 2) the family context both before and after prisoners return; 3) the individual's relationships with peers both in prison and post release; 4) the community context to which prisoners return; and 5) the state-level context of reentry regulations and policies and other social and economic influences. This paper focuses on the family context of prisoner reintegration, comparing pre-release expectations of both inmates and their family members with post-release circumstances using data collected from surveys of inmates administered 30-45 days before release, interviews with family members 30 days prior to the inmate's release, and interviews with released prisoners conducted 30-45 days after their release.

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Updated 05/20/2006