The Reentry Process: how Parolees Adjust to Release from Prison


prison reentry, reentry, parolee adjustment, recidivism, family


We explored the reentry process by interviewing 51 parolees three times over a period of three months after their release from prison. In addition, we interviewed 19 parole officers and tracked each parolee for six months after release. Ten of the 51 parolees were reincarcerated within six months after their release from prison. Family support, being married or having a partner, living with a family member, and being a parent were not associated with parole adjustment or with the likelihood of returning to prison. Variables associated with not being reincarcerated were number of close relationships within the family network, the quality of the parent-child relationship, being employed, and having stable housing. Reincarceration was associated with socializing with friends four or more times per week, the number of conflicted relationships in the family network, having family members who had been on probation or in jail, and the parolee's perceived difficulty in staying off drugs. These findings suggest that the overall network of family relationships is important in helping to make the transition from prison to the community.

Original Publication Citation

Bahr, Stephen J., Anita H. Armstrong, Benjamin G. Gibbs, Paul E. Harris and James K. Fisher. “The Reentry Process: How Parolees Adjust to Release from Prison” Fathering 3:243-265.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Mens Studies




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor