Family Support in the Prisoner Reentry Process

Nancy La Vigne
Director of the Justice Policy Center, Urban Institute

Key Findings

  • Participants relied heavily on family post-release for financial and emotional support.
  • Participants projected to have more family support prior to their release than they indicated they received after release.
  • Participants placed a greater value on family after release than they projected to before release.


In the article, “Family Support in the Prisoner Reentry Process,” La Vigne and her co-author examine the effect of family in the prisoner reintegration process. To conduct their research the authors studied 413 male prisoners reentering Baltimore and Chicago. They interviewed and surveyed the participants two to three months before and after their release to compare their expectations and outcomes surrounding reentry. The results showed that the participants relied heavily on family members for financial and emotional support. The data also showed that participants expected more family support than the amount they received. Overall, participants placed a greater value on the role of family in helping to adjust after their release from prison, indicating the importance of family in the reentry process.

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