All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Stacy Moak

Advisory Committee Members

Jeffery T Walker

Martha Earwood

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2020

Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Each year hundreds of thousands of ex-offenders are released from U.S. jails and prisons to return to their communities. After release, ex-offenders’ families can play a critical role in helping their loved ones re-adjust to life outside of prison as well as meet the terms of their release; however, the severe financial, emotional, and social hardships associated with reentry have great potential to strengthen or weaken ex-offenders’ family support networks. The current study sought to explore how attitudes toward offenders differ between offenders’ family members and individuals who have never experienced familial incarceration. Adaptations of The Attitudes Toward Prisoners Scale and the Basic Empathy Scale were completed by 74 students attending a reentry simulation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Students additionally provided demographic information and answered questions regarding their familiarity with the topic of reentry. No significant differences in attitudes toward offenders were observed by history of familial incarceration. Further, no significant effects of race, sex, age, or field of study were found on respondents’ attitudes toward offenders. Findings and implications for future research are discussed.

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