Examining the Impact of Parenthood and Family Connectedness on Offenders' Reentry Experiences

Jessica Grossmann

Major Professor: Lauren B Cattaneo, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: June Tangney, Christianne Esposito-Smythers

David King Hall, #2013
July 06, 2015, 09:30 AM to 06:30 AM

Abstract:

Approximately 12.9 million individuals are released from jails each year into communities, where they are at-risk for recidivism, homelessness, substance abuse, difficulty transitioning into new employment roles, and other negative outcomes. Research has examined the reentry process for offenders, and suggests that family relationships may influence the likelihood of success during reentry. However, this literature focuses on the broad population of offenders, and has not identified whether family relationships influence some groups of offenders differently. Incarcerated parents have additional complexities within their family relationships, and the current study investigated whether parents’ post-release outcomes are impacted differently by family connectedness. This study then explored possible predictors of changes in connectedness to family, including contact during incarceration. Data was drawn from a longitudinal study of male and female felony offenders in a county jail (N =238). Results of multiple regression analyses determined that family connectedness does not predict post-release outcomes, except that among nonparents high family connectedness predicts better mental health post-release. In addition, results suggest that contact by family members is beneficial for both parents and nonparents, and phone calls from family may be an especially important intervention for parents to increase family connectedness.