“I Feel Like I’m About to Walk Out of Prison Blindfolded”: Prison Programming and Reentry

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People who participate in correctional treatment programming are viewed as making positive steps towards their reentry into society. However, this is often assessed through a simple “yes” or “no” response

People who participate in correctional treatment programming are viewed as making positive steps towards their reentry into society. However, this is often assessed through a simple “yes” or “no” response to whether they are currently participating without much emphasis on how, why, or to what degree that participation is meaningful for reentry preparedness. The present study aims to a) identify to what extent there is variation in the degree to which women participate in programming and are prepared for reentry, b) identify the characteristics that distinguish highly-involved programmers from less involved programmers, c) identify the characteristics that distinguish women who are highly-prepared for reentry from women who are less prepared, and d) assess whether levels of involvement in programming relates to levels of reentry preparedness. The sample comes from interviewer-proctored surveys of 200 incarcerated women in Arizona. Two indices were created: one for the primary independent variable of program involvement and one for the dependent variable of reentry preparedness. Logistic and multivariate regressions were run to determine the indices’ relatedness to each other and the characteristic variables. The two indices did not have a statistically significant relationship with each other. However, variation across them is found. This indicates that programmers may not be a homogenous group and that they may engage with programming to varying degrees based on a multitude of indicators.