Many exonerees report stigmatizing experiences and difficulties securing gainful employment post-incarceration. Although researchers have begun to investigate public perceptions of wrongful conviction, there remains a dearth of knowledge about public perceptions of exonerees. To provide insight into how the public perceives exonerees, face-to-face interviews were conducted with members (n=30) of a suburban city in South Central Ontario. Data analysis included a constructed grounded approach to reveal emergent themes in the transcripts. All interviewees acknowledged that wrongly convicted individuals are stigmatized by the public and that this can have negative effects in many of their lived experiences. In addition, findings of this exploratory study suggest that some interviewees, indirectly or directly, stigmatize exonerees in their responses while being interviewed—lending insight into how the public views and reacts to exonerees. Findings and policy implications are theoretically framed in Erving Goffman’s (1963) seminal work on stigma. Implications include the potential role of research and education in informing community members, and all levels of government, about wrongful convictions in general, and the negative implications of stigma, in particular.
Public Perception, Stigma, Schematic Framing, Wrongful Conviction, Exonerees, Semi-Structured Interviews, Constructed Grounded Theory
The authors would like to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada for the funding that made this research possible.
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Recommended APA Citation
Blandisi, I. M., Clow, K. A., & Ricciardelli, R. (2015). Public Perceptions of the Stigmatization of Wrongly Convicted Individuals: Findings from Semi-Structured Interviews. The Qualitative Report, 20(11), 1881-1904. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol20/iss11/13