The familial relationships of former prisoners: Examining the link between residence and informal support mechanisms

Damian J. Martinez, Johnna Christian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Former prisoners face tremendous challenges on release from prisong-particularly in their reintegration into family relationships. The research evidence indicates that family support is essential to avoid reincarceration. Little is known, however, about what occurs in these relationships, specifically how support is exchanged, why it facilitates success, and which types of support are meaningful. This article examines how former prisoners and their family members exchange supports within two contexts-residence with a family member and residence in a halfway house-and how those supports affect the family relationship. Data were gathered through in-depth interviews with six dyads of former prisoners and family members. The findings indicate that former prisoners' and family members' perceptions and actual exchanges of informal support differ according to the former prisoner's residence, suggesting that residential context is an important aspect in identifying support mechanisms and facilitating former prisoners' resettlement into, and renegotiation of, family relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-224
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Contemporary Ethnography
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

Keywords

  • Family support
  • Former prisoners
  • Reentry
  • Residence

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