Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice


Criminal Justice

First Reader/Committee Chair

Bichler, Gisela


Reentry is an important subject matter to investigate. With high incarceration and recidivism rates it is essential to highlight ways to reduce the flow of offenders into the criminal justice system and understand how to foster desistance. Borrowing from social capital theory, this study investigates the barriers reentrants face, their ability to overcome these obstacles and the role supportive and non-supportive relationships play in reintegration. Exploring how offenders’ networks constrain or support community reentry, this study found that structural characteristics indicative of higher social capital covaried with successful reentry. Thematic coding of open-ended survey responses revealed that quality of social relations and resources were critical to successful reentry. Results show that access to resources like housing, employment, and transportation, as well as emotional and psychological support and fortitude are critical to reentry. While family and associates play instrumental roles in the reentry process, cohesive supportive networks and minimally connected non- supportive networks may position reentrants to take advantage of resources and opportunities they are exposed to. These structural characteristics of egocentric social networks are observed to covary with reentry outcomes. Professional non- governmental agencies such as reentry programs aid in reentry efforts as correctional government agencies like parole affiliates create or maintain barriers, as perceived by the reentrant. These findings draw attention to the need for reentry policy and programs to serve reentrant needs, as well as their most critical supporters.

Included in

Criminology Commons