People who have served a prison term often find it difficult to reintegrate into society successfully due to various reasons including economic and social. The government as well as numerous non-governmental organizations fund a variety of programs aimed at assisting (former and present) inmates to reintegrate into the community (Hallett & Johnson, 2014, McClure et al., 2015). Nonetheless, it has been found that around two-thirds of released people get engaged in illicit activities, which leads to their incarceration in many cases (Berg & Huebner, 2011). Researchers note that family ties often play a decisive role and help former inmates to become a part of the community (Latessa, Listwan & Koetzle, 2014). This study dwells upon the effectiveness of the reintegration program focusing on family ties (the relationships with children).
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The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the program aimed at the reintegration of former inmates into society.
After completion of the reintegration program, are mothers or guardians more likely to get involved in the unlawful activities?
To answer this question, a true experimental design will be employed.
After participation in the program, parents and guardians are less likely to re-offend.
This hypothesis is measurable by determining the number of participants who re-offend and those who successfully reintegrate into the society as compared to those who offend and serve out another prison term.
It is believed that females tend to develop closer family ties compared to men. Therefore, female inmates will take part in the research. The eligible participants will be women aged between 18 and 25 years old who have a child or children. The samples will also be chosen on the basis of their offenses and terms to be served out. Thus, minor offenders (for instance, imprisoned for such offenses as possession of a small number of illicit substances) will be involved in the study.
The participants will also have similar terms of imprisonment. Importantly, such offenders usually come from low-income communities, and, hence, they are often affected by similar factors (socioeconomic issues, peer pressure, issues associated with single-parent families, and so on). 300 participants will take part in the research. The samples will be divided into two groups. The first group (consisting of 150 inmates) will complete the program assessed while the other group will not undergo the treatment.
The effectiveness of the program can be evaluated through the analysis of recidivism among women who have completed it and those who have not participated in it. Thus, data on the instances of recidivism among the participants within three months, six months, and 12 months after the release will be analyzed. This will enable the researchers to identify the periods associated with most risks. It will also allow the researcher to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the program as it will be clear whether prisoners will be able to display appropriate behavior one year after their release.
The independent variable for this research will be the program. The dependent variable of the study will be recidivism. The samples will receive the treatment right after their release. The reintegration program will last for three months. Notably, those who have started the program but did not finish it will be excluded from the research as they cannot pertain to either of the groups since they could or could not benefit from limited participation.
It will be possible to generalize the data and identify a particular rate of former prisoners who benefit from the participation in the corrective measures or, in other words, reintegrate successfully into society.
Such threats to validity as history and maturation can undermine the validity of the research. To mitigate the adverse effects of these threats the researcher will provide information on such factors as employment, income, and the type of offense (when possible). As far as ethical issues are concerned, it is necessary to note that written consent will be acquired from females who will complete the questionnaires. Confidentiality and anonymity will be ensured.
The issue of overcrowded prisons in the USA is persistent. Clearly, imprisonment has various adverse effects on US society. The government as well as non-governmental organizations and charities have launched numerous corrective programs aimed at assisting former inmates to reintegrate into society (Hallett & Johnson, 2014; McClure et al., 2015). These programs often involve a focus on faith, family ties, or the development of professional skills (Berg & Huebner, 2011; Latessa, Listwan & Koetzle, 2014).
Nonetheless, the effectiveness of these measures is quite questionable as the majority of former inmates engage themselves in illicit activities, and half of these offenders find themselves behind the bars (Berg & Huebner, 2011). The programs’ inefficiency may be (at least, partially) due to inmates’ attitude towards it. Therefore, it is essential to understand the way prisoners feel about the corrective measures. This study will focus on a program focusing on family ties. The participants’ views on the reintegration program will help to identify some of its flaws and develop recommendations to improve it.
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The purpose of this research is to analyze the effectiveness of the program aimed at reintegration of former prisoners into society through determining inmates’ attitudes towards the corrective measures. Some recommendations to improve the reintegration program will be provided.
Do mothers and guardians find the reintegration program effective?
To answer the research question, several interviews will be carried out.
Mothers and guardians find the reintegration program effective.
This hypothesis is measurable by identifying the way inmates feel about the program.
Since the program in question focuses on family ties, it can be effective to analyze the attitudes of female prisoners as females have deeper links to their children. Thus, participants of the present research will be female inmates (aged between 18 and 25) who have had similar terms of imprisonment. Those who have committed similar minor offenses will take part in the study. This can be a one-year prison term for possession of illicit substances. The eligible participants will be mothers or guardians of one child or more. Importantly, the participants will have similar conditions and factors affecting their decisions. Thus, such females are often single mothers coming from low-income and single-parent families. Therefore, the samples are likely to be affected by similar factors and will be able to benefit from the program equally.
Five individuals who have not reoffended and five females who have reoffended and have had to serve out another term (among those who have completed the program after their release) will be interviewed. At that, the interviews will be held one year after the release. This period is the minimum time frame that can prove the cost-effectiveness of the corrective measures. The interviews will enable the researcher to identify attitudes of females towards the program irrespective of their performance after the release. It will also help evaluate the effectiveness of the program.
The case study approach will be utilized as it will enable the researcher to elicit participants’ ideas and feelings on the program. The interviews will be tape-recorded, and written consent will be obtained. The questions will be open-ended. It is noteworthy that additional (specifying) questions may be asked during the interview depending on the participants’ answers. This will help the researchers to identify recurrent themes and the most burning issues as seen by those who have completed the program. The questions will address such areas as attitudes towards elements of the program, family ties, and problems they had to face after the release.
Particular attention will be paid to women’s evaluation of their performance after the release and their progress, as well as risks or factors that contributed to their reoffending (in the case with the participants serving another prison term). Females will be asked to evaluate their performance. This will help the researcher to identify the degree of females’ effort invested. The researcher will also take into account the records concerning the inmates’ performance as this will provide objective information on the degree of inmates’ participation in the corrective measures. Finally, the researcher will pay close attention to females’ accounts of the reasons for their success or failure. Recommendations will be developed based on the analysis of the participants’ attitudes.
To mitigate internal validity threats, the following measures will be undertaken: thick description, triangulation, and member checks. To avoid any ethical issues, anonymity and confidentiality will be ensured.
Incarceration has a variety of adverse effects on the entire US society as well as families that are often destroyed. The current view of prisoners and their future lies in the terrain of the restorative justice paradigm. Reintegration is seen as vital and, hence, various corrective programs exist (Hallett & Johnson, 2014; McClure et al., 2015). Some of these measures are faith-based as they concentrate on religious values (Latessa, Listwan & Koetzle, 2014).
In the majority of cases, however, the programs involve a focus on family links as it is believed that children and close ones can and should be the reason for successful reintegration. Nevertheless, the recidivism among former prisoners is very high, and it has been estimated that around 60% of those who served out a prison term re-offend (Berg & Huebner, 2011). It is possible to evaluate a corrective program to understand whether it is efficient or not and whether some changes are necessary.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the reintegration program and provide recommendations for its improvement. This can be achieved through analysis of recidivism among inmates and the analysis of prisoners’ attitudes towards the program.
After participation in the program, do mothers or guardians tend to avoid unlawful activities?
To answer this question, some inmates will be interviewed, and quantitative data on recidivism among prisoners will be implemented.
After participation in the reintegration program, mothers and guardians are less likely to exhibit unlawful behavior.
This hypothesis is measurable by determining prisoners’ attitudes towards the program as well as identifying the rate of recidivism among prisoners.
The research is aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of the reintegration program based on the focus on family links. Women are believed to have deeper attachments to their children, hence, female inmates will participate in the study. The eligible participants will be women (18-25 years old) who are a mother or guardian of a child or several children. The eligible participants will be those who have served out similar terms and who were imprisoned for possession of a small number of illegal substances. It is noteworthy that participants will have similar backgrounds as such offenders are usually representative of low-income communities. They often come from single-parent families and have to raise their child (or children) without a partner. They often have no higher education.
As far as the quantitative data are concerned, the recidivism among prisoners will be assessed. 300 inmates will take part in the research. The samples will be divided into two groups (150 people in each group). One group will receive the treatment while the other will not undergo the corrective measures. The rate of recidivism in women (in both groups) three, six, and 12 months after their release will be analyzed.
The attention to several periods after the release will help the researcher identify the rate of recidivism and its change (if any) in the course of time. It will also help to analyze the cost-effectiveness of the program as it will be clear whether those who have participated are able to keep away from unlawful activities within a significant amount of time. The independent variable for this study will be the treatment. The dependent variable of the present research will be recidivism. The participants will undergo the corrective measures right after their release. The reintegration program will take up to three months. The rate of recidivism will be identified. This will enable the researcher to assess the actual effectiveness of the program that is aimed at the successful reintegration of former prisoners.
As far as the qualitative component of the study, interviews with samples will be held. At that, five former inmates who have completed the program, and five former prisoners who have not participated in the corrective treatment will take part in the study. The interviews will be held one year after their release. This period is necessary to assess the effectiveness of the program. The samples will be interviewed to understand the way prisoners feel about the program. The researcher will put open-ended questions. Specifying questions can be asked to provide a deeper analysis of the prisoners’ attitudes.
The focus on such areas as elements of the program (especially, children’s visits and their overall involvement), family bonds in their post-imprisonment life, risks, and factors that could (or did) affect their decision to re-offend.
The inmates will also be asked to assess the way they performed during the program. The researcher will understand the way females feel about their behavior during the treatment. The records on the actual behavior of participants will also be analyzed to obtain comprehensive data on the matter. Besides, the researchers will also ask the samples questions concerning reasons for their success or failure. Recommendations concerning improvements to the program will be provided.
To diminish such threats to internal validity as history and attrition, the researcher will pay attention to such factors as employment, family ties, and so on (interviews will help to identify these factors). Description, triangulation, and member checks will also be utilized to ensure the internal validity of the study. To address ethical issues, informed consent forms will be obtained, and confidentiality, as well as anonymity, will be guaranteed.
Evaluation of the Research Methods
It is necessary to note that three research methods (quantitative, qualitative, and mixed) can be applied in different cases. The quantitative research method is valuable when the researcher is interested in trends and particular numbers and rates. The major strength of this type of research is the possibility to generalize the findings (Bernard, 2011). Thus, it can be easy to determine the rate of prisoners who re-offend (or rather are incarcerated) after they completed a corrective program. This can show the cost-effectiveness of the program. Nonetheless, this research method will not reveal particular flaws of the program and factors that affect its efficiency.
The qualitative research method will be more applicable to achieve this goal. This method enables researchers to identify attitudes, qualities, attributes, and so on. This type of analysis implies attention to people’s experiences and attitudes towards different aspects of human life (Bernard, 2011). To identify flaws of the program, it can be more useful to use the qualitative method as the program’s efficiency largely depends on the way inmates respond to it.
These responses can be assessed during the qualitative research. Nonetheless, the major weakness of this method is its lack of generalization. Data obtained cannot be generalized as all people (programs, experiences, and so on) are different and various factors may be in play. Qualitative research is also associated with high risks of bias and misconception. The researcher has to be careful when coming to conclusions.
When it comes to the mixed research method, it can be employed in many cases especially when the researcher is interested in people’s experiences and fixed rates. Thus, it is possible to combine analysis of particular individuals’ experiences and major trends that are taking place in a community or the entire society. For instance, when evaluating the program mentioned above, the researcher will be able to identify the rate of recidivism (and drop-outs), which will show the cost-effectiveness of the program. In other words, it will be clear whether the program achieves its principal purpose on the prisoners’ reintegration into society.
At the same time, to understand particular flaws of the program, it may be essential to identify inmates’ attitudes towards the program. This will help to develop individual strategies to improve the program and make it more efficient or to improve prisoners’ responsiveness to the corrective measures. The major strength of this method is its universality as it diminishes weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative research methods as the findings can be generalized and, simultaneously, they can be very specific (Bryman, 2012). The major weakness of the mixed method is its complexity. This type of research often requires a significant amount of time and resources. Sometimes it can be rather difficult to interpret the data obtained regarding the paradigm of the mixed method.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that the present research may be based on the qualitative research method as an evaluation of the program may be concerned with the improvement of particular elements. Thus, attitudes of prisoners will be analyzed, and certain recommendations will be provided. When the new program is developed and employed, it will be possible to implement a quantitative research method to check its cost-effectiveness.
Berg, M.T., & Huebner, B.M. (2011). Reentry and the ties that bind: An examination of social ties, employment, and recidivism. Justice Quarterly, 28(2), 382-410.
Bernard, H.R. (2011). Research methods in anthropology: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. New York, NY: Rowman Altamira.
Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods. New York, NY: OUP Oxford.
Hallet, M., & Johnson, B. (2014). The resurgence of religion in America’s prisons. Religions, 5(1), 663-683.
Latessa, E.J., Listwan, S.J., & Koetzle, D. (2014). What works (and doesn’t) in reducing recidivism. New York, NY: Routledge.
McClure, H.H., Shortt, J.W., Eddy, J.M., Holmes, A., Van Uum, S., Russell, E., … Martinez, C.R. (2015). Associations among mother-child contact, parenting stress, and mother and child adjustment related to incarceration. In J. Poehlmann-Tynan (Ed.), Children’s contact with incarcerated parents: Implications for policy and intervention (pp. 59-83). New York, NY: Springer.