Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Richa Dhanju


Social Work


This study aims focus and attention toward the growing social problem of recidivism among ex-offenders in the United States. The United States incarcerates more people than any other country and the numbers continue to grow. In addition, the United States has the highest rates of recidivism (Pew Center on the States, 2011). Recidivism is defined as a persons continued criminal behavior after receiving some sanctions or undergoing intervention for a pervious crime (National Institute of Justice, 2010). The goal of this research is to highlight important literature that has impacted our views on recidivism, crime, and ex-offenders as well as why our current policies and laws are not helping the situation, but rather hindering. This study is qualitative in nature. Information was obtained through semi-structured interviews with employees currently working with ex-offenders in the community. The data was analyzed using thematic clustering and open coding. The following five themes emerged through data analysis: social stigma as a barrier, lack basic needs, effects of poverty, community ties, and unrealistic preparedness. All interview participants highlighted the general idea that offenders are not prepared for successful release due to societal and personal barriers. This study will highlight previous literature regarding recidivism and barriers to success as well as provide discussion around key findings.

Included in

Social Work Commons