Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Department

Department of Social Work

Advisor(s)

Lisa McGuire

Laura Trull

Joshua Baldwin

Abstract

The topic of felon disenfranchisement and discrimination is a contentious one in the United States. Some individuals and legislators feel that people who commit felonies deserve the punishments they receive even after released. Whereas, others feel that felons should eventually be fully reintegrated back into society, once they serve their time. States have different policies and programs concerning felons, including reintegration programs. The purpose of this research project is to understand how the city of Harrisonburg, Virginia treats people with felonies in all aspects of their lives as they reintegrate back to society. The research question guiding the project was “What challenges do people with felony convictions experience when they seek reintegration into the community of Harrisonburg?” Qualitative methods were chosen for this project in order to gather rich and personal data to explore this challenging issue. The project began with a literature review to research the treatment of felons as a whole in the United States and develop questions for the research. The next step was to interview key informants in Harrisonburg about the issue. Content analysis was used in this project in the hopes that detailed analysis and specific themes could be identified from the transcripts of the interviews with the informants. The project developed a deeper understanding about how felons are actually treated in Harrisonburg and may create opportunities for additional discussion and perhaps policies and additional programming in the future.

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