New Family Formation in the Prison Reentry Population

Awarded Scholars:
Megan Reid, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Project Date:
Nov 2016
Award Amount:

Incarceration is disruptive to romantic and familial relationships and complicates relationships among reentering individuals and their pre-incarceration partners. Research suggests that cohabiting relationships formed after re-entry may be rapid and/or transactional, possibly due, in part, to the housing and employment challenges faced by released offenders. Such relationships may have characteristics associated with poor economic and overall wellbeing for partners and their children. Conversely, relationships may be formed with the intention of forming a lasting strong partnership, and thus may have a positive impact on family members.

While research on incarceration and reentry examines the collateral consequences faced by partners, children, and family members of released offenders, few studies have examined the contexts and processes of new relationship and family formation among the reentry population. Sociologist Megan Reid will examine relationship and family formation processes in the reentry population, especially in relation to economic well-being and housing insecurity. She will conduct and analyze in-depth semi-structured interviews with, and ethnographic observations of, low-income men returning from incarceration in New York City and their new or potential romantic partners.


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