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The present study explores the role social relationships play in reducing recidivism rates in one nonprofit organization. Social bonds that formed between ex-offenders, staff and community members were initiated through shared experience, common goals, and effective storytelling. By using 80 hours of participant observation and 8 in-depth interviews with formerly incarcerated men and the staff of a nonprofit reentry program, this project contributes to the study of the process of reentry. A more holistic understanding of the needs of ex-offenders have necessary to reduce barriers men face during their reentry process. In this paper, I argue that forming social bonds between clients, community members, and organizations are critical during the reentry process. This argument is two-fold. From the perspective of community members and organizations - forming social solidarity with ex-offenders encourages community members to support ex-offenders by providing needed resources. From the perspective of ex-offenders - forming social bonds with the community helps ex-offenders with identity transformation, gain emotional support, and have a sense of guidance and regulation. Findings from this study highlight the fact that formerly incarcerated persons need more than physical resources to prevent recidivism. Ex-offenders having the opportunity to develop social relationships are also vital to reducing recidivism rates.
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Jones, Ashley, "The Road Back Home: A Case Study on How Social Bonds Reduce Recidivism" (2019). Senior Projects Spring 2019. 41.