The milestones project : how ex-offenders may collectively negotiate reentry barriers
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The purpose of this project was to explore how ex-offenders collectively leverage personal and community assets to transcend passivity and powerlessness in the face of reentry barriers, as well as to identify the personal milestones that signal social and community re-integration, post-incarceration. A qualitative inquiry utilizing interviews and a support group structure modeled on action research was used to generate two distinct products. The first product concerned a peer-group model that could be employed by ex-offenders as a form of community capacity building. The second product sought to identify reentry milestones utilized in the development of effective support programs to aid ex-offenders in the areas of employment and housing. Data collection points included the narratives elicited from participants during the intake and exit interviews, a grounded theory analysis fostered during each support group session with the intent to identify group curriculum, and the life stories revealed in the reflective journals all participants are asked to maintain. Narrative analysis was employed to understand the meaning participants provide to the work of the support group as well as the volunteer work they are asked to do to illustrate their commitment to community building. The participants utilized a grounded theory analysis to examine transcripts of group discussions in an effort to explicate the most important components of a peer-group model.