Researchers can analyze statistics of recidivism rates and decipher that they are at an alarming rate—specifically regarding women convicts. The population of women in prison has drastically increased, and with that, so have their recidivism rates. Analyzing statistical data of incarceration and recidivism can show us the numbers, but what is the reason? Why do some women struggle to stay out of prison? I argued that one reason is because women who are released from prison are severely underprepared to reintegrate back into society and, are therefore, set up for failure. Previous studies suggest that reentry programs, education programs, relationships and support, and substance abuse/mental health treatment are vital to women’s reintegration after their release from prison. Through in-depth interviews with two formerly incarcerated women, this study aimed to distinguish if those influences, or other influences, are significant to their reentry experience. Additionally, the women were asked what other women in prison can do when preparing to be released. I believe this firsthand advice will give proper insight to what women can do to better their chance at successful reentry back into mainstream society. It was found that all the influences distinguished and discussed in the literature are reflected in the participants’ lived experiences with reentry. These findings reinforced the themes found in the literature review and suggested new insight on additional positive influences.


Paul Prew

Committee Member

Emily Stark

Committee Member

Christine Mollenkopf-Pigsley

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Social and Behavioral Sciences



Rights Statement

In Copyright