Over the past several decades, all facets of institutional and community corrections have been growing. This growth has resulted in increased numbers of ex-offenders reentering society. While research has emerged on reentry, much of the research has focused on examining reentry failure as opposed to reentry success. Interviews of 40 ex-offenders and community corrections officers were conducted in Washington State to pinpoint what is needed to assist ex-offenders as they reenter society—particularly as it relates to substance abuse and mental health treatment. Results from interviews revealed that ex-offenders need assistance to address substance abuse and mental health issues while incarcerated and in the community. Interview results indicated that lack of access to treatment providers or quality treatment to assist ex-offenders are key hindrances identified by ex-offenders in the reentry process. Policy implications of the results are provided.


Reentry, Ex-Offenders, Success, Community Corrections Officers, Substance Abuse, Mental Health, Narrative Analysis

Author Bio(s)

Elaine Gunnison is a Professor/Graduate Director in the Criminal Justice Department at Seattle University. Her research specializations are in offender reentry, corrections, criminology, and female offending Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Elaine Gunnison, Criminal Justice Department, Seattle University, 901 12th Ave., P.O. Box 222000, Seattle, WA 98122-1090. Contact: gunnisone@seattleu.edu

Jacqueline B. Helfgott is Professor/Chair in Criminal Justice Department at Seattle University. Her research specializations include criminal behavior, psychopathy, copycat crime, corrections, offender reentry, and restorative and community justice.

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