A recent feature in Harvard Magazine discusses a new study on the challenges that formerly incarcerated persons in the Boston area face during their first year out of prison. The study is conducted by Bruce Western, a Harvard sociology professor and expert on issues of mass incarceration in the United States. Western tracks persons recently released from the Massachusetts prison system, interviewing them about their experiences and remaining in contact with friends, family, community street-workers, and the Boston police.
Highlighting both the many social challenges reentrants face and the issue of mass incarceration as a public policy concern, Western’s work looks at how social support services can help reduce recidivism. The article situates this study amongst the many problems associated with incarceration, including the annual cost of imprisonment, the prevalence of mental illness and substance abuse problems among those incarcerated, the psychological challenge of reintegration, and the lack of social services available for reentrants. Check out the Harvard Magazine article here, for more information.